What is the Refugee Olympic Team?

SPORTS

This month, competitors representing the nations participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics will be joined by a small group walking without a national flag—refugee athletes set to make history on the global sporting stage. (Geographical)

Use our resources to learn more about refugees.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

Discussion Ideas

  • This summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are the first to include a “Refugee Olympic Team” (ROT). What are refugees? Take a look at our encyclopedic entry for some help.
    • Refugees are people who must leave their home area for their own safety or survival. A refugee’s home area could be a country, state, or region. People become refugees for many reasons, including war, oppression, natural disasters, and climate change.

 

rot screenshot

Click on each of the markers to learn a little more about the 10 athletes of the Refugee Olympic Team—videos, their countries of origin, where they train today, and when you can watch them on TV!

  • Where are the 10 members of the Refugee Olympic Team from? Navigate today’s handy MapMaker Interactive map for some help.
    • Rami Anis, a swimmer, is from Syria and currently residing in Belgium.
    • Yonas Kinde, a marathoner, is from Ethiopia and currently residing in Luxembourg.
    • Yusra Mardini, a swimmer, is from Syria and currently residing in Germany.
    • James Nyang Chiengjiek, a runner, is from South Sudan and currently residing in Kenya.
    • Yiech Biel, a runner, is from South Sudan and currently residing in Kenya.
    • Anjelina Lohalith, a runner, is from South Sudan and currently residing in Kenya.
    • Paul Lokoro, a runner, is from South Sudan and currently residing in Kenya.
    • Rose Nathike Lokonyen, a runner, is from South Sudan and currently residing in Kenya.
    • Popole Misenga, a judoka, is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and currently residing in Brazil.
    • Yolande Mabika, a judoka, is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and currently residing in Brazil.

 

 

  • Without a country to represent, what flag will they march behind at the opening and closing ceremonies? What anthem will play if a refugee athlete wins a medal?
    • “Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem,” says Bach.
      • At the opening ceremonies, ROT’s flag-bearer was South Sudanese runner Rose Nathike Lokonyen.

 

  • Olympic qualifications are notorious for being very rigorous and regimented. How did the athletes of the ROT compete without such formal structures?

 

  • The Geographical article says that IOC President Bach’s commitment to refugee athletes extends past the Refugee Olympic Team. How else is the IOC supporting refugee athletes?
    • In April, Ibrahim al-Hussein, a Syrian swimmer, carried the Olympic Torch through the Eleonas refugee and migrant camp in Athens, Greece. Al-Hussein had his leg amputated after being hit by a bomb in 2012. “I am carrying the flame for myself, but also for Syrians, for refugees everywhere, for Greece, for sports,” he told reporters at the time. “I am sending this message to all migrating Syrians, but not only them or Iraqis or Afghans, anyone who has to migrate away from their country to go to Europe.”
    • The IOC has established Olympic Solidarity, a multimillion-dollar fund that finances:
      • athletic equipment and training in refugee camps.
      • National Olympic Committee programs focusing on “athlete development, training of coaches and sports administrators, and promoting the Olympic ideals.”

 

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Geographical: Symbols of hope: Refugees at the Olympics

Nat Geo: What is the Refugee Olympic Team? map

Nat Geo: What is a refugee?

Rio 2016: Refugee Olympic Team

International Olympic Committee: Refugee Olympic Team to shine spotlight on worldwide refugee crisis video

One response to “What is the Refugee Olympic Team?

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