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BACKGROUND

As part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s to aid potential elite athletes affected by the worldwide refugee crisis, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world were asked by the IOC to identify any refugee athletes with the potential to qualify for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Such candidates could then receive funding from Olympic Solidarity to assist with their preparations and qualification efforts.

Forty-three promising candidates were initially identified. Ten refugee athletes were ultimately selected to make up the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team. Acting as a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide and bringing global attention to the refugee crisis, the athletes took part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016, marching and competing under the Olympic flag. 

This will be a symbol of hope for all refugees in the world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis. It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. Thomas Bach IOC President

Selection of the 10 athletes was based on consultation with their host NOCs, International Federations, the UNHCR and the NOCs of their countries of origin. Nomination criteria included sporting level, official refugee status verified by the United Nations, and personal situation and background.

Olympian and former marathon world record-holder Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) was the team’s Chef de Mission, while Isabela Mazão (Brazil), who was proposed by the UNHCR, acted as the Deputy Chef de Mission.

Please find the biographies of the refugee athletes from Rio 2016 here..

Beyond the Olympic Games, the IOC continues to support these athletes day by day through its Olympic Solidarity Refugee Athletes Support Programme, to help them to build their future, while the UNHCR also supports them to continue to convey this positive message of solidarity and hope through sport and advocate the cause of refugees.


Refugee Olympic Team

At the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in October 2015, confronted with the global refugee crisis that has seen millions of people in the world displaced, IOC President Thomas Bach announced the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team.

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IOC REFUGEE OLYMPIC TEAM TOKYO 2020

During its meeting in Buenos Aires in October 2018, the IOC Session decided to create the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020. This decision builds on the legacy of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team in Rio.

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OLYMPIC REFUGE FOUNDATION

In September 2017, during its Session in Lima, the IOC launched the Olympic Refuge Foundation to support the protection, development and empowerment of children and young people in vulnerable situations through sport.

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