BTN- Refugee Olympic Team

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Blue: Facts

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Imagine practicing and practicing for something your whole life, and then it turns out you’re not allowed to do it. That’s what it’s like for refugees that want to compete in the Olympics, but that’s not the case anymore. For the first time in history, the Olympic Committee has agreed that a team of refugees can be in the running for the Games! There will be ten athletes in this team (swimmers, runners, judokas etc.), and they will all be from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia or Congo. All the athletes from this team were forced to leave their countries and became a refugee. But now, all of them will be able to compete and achieve their ultimate dream. Here’s a bit of background information on one of the athletes in this team, her name is Yusra.


This 18 year old swimmer has always had the dream of competing at the Olympics, but last year she thought her dream was over. That year she left her home (Syria) and went down the road as a refugee. A refugee is a person who has left their country because they either endangered by war, they are given bad treatment or violence has occurred in their life. These things often happen because of someone’s gender, race or beliefs. Yusra left her home for there is a war happening, but she is not the only one. Her and her sister are just 2 of the 60 million refugees out there. These 2 girls were fleeing to Greece with eighteen other refugees, and they all fled in one rubber dinghy. But catastrophe struck when the boat broke down and started to fill up with water. Beforehand, her sister had told her if something happens, don’t help anyone. But most of the people on this boat couldn’t swim, and the 2 of them decided to push it to shore. Yusra stated that it was really hard and frightening, especially since she was a swimmer and she could have ended up dying in the water.


But 3 hours later they arrived safely, and eventually got to Germany as refugees. Some of those refugees are elite athletes, and have been training all for their whole life to get to the highest level (the Olympics). But when settling, most thought that their dream was over (including Yusra). This is for the common knowledge that in the past, a refugee has never been allowed to participate in the Games. Now, there is no difference whether you are a refugee or not, it’s all about the race.


The refugee team has also got some bonuses, as well as being able to strive in the Olympics. They have received their own coaches, team uniform, officials, and even their own chef! These extras have all been paid for by the IOC, and for a very good reason. The IOC wants this team to inspire and give hope to other refugees, as well as drawing attention to this issue that millions of people are facing. This team has been training hard for months, and they believe their up for the challenge, no matter where they end up placing.


And I think the IOC’s idea is working, since more and more refugees are starting to accomplish their dreams. The team’s heard a lot of stories from refugees, stating how they couldn’t do it or wouldn’t. But after seeing the refugee team in action, all of the stories came back saying that they want to be like them and should have tried harder. But what really inspired refugees was their advice, them saying you can and you just want to try from all your heart really means a lot to everyone.


I understand how much pressure it is to compete in the Olympics. Athletes do it for they love sport, but to have such an important role while being there would build a lot of pressure.


A question I have is:

How did this team end up competing, and how many supporters did they have?

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