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IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Paris Games to represent more than 100 million displaced people

IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Paris Games to represent more than 100 million displaced people
May 3, 2024

36 athletes from 11 different countries, hosted by 15 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and competing across 12 sports have been named as members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Refugee Olympic Team for the upcoming Paris 2024 Games.

Appearing at the Olympic Games for the third time, the IOC Refugee Olympic Team will represent the more than 100 million displaced people around the world.

Announced during a live-streamed ceremony from Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland, IOC President, Thomas Bach stated that the presence of the team in Paris “will make billions of people around the world aware of the magnitude of the refugee crisis.

The composition of the team was approved by the IOC Executive Board (EB) and was based on criteria including each athlete’s sporting performance and their refugee status as verified by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Consideration was also given to a balanced representation of sport and gender, as well as the spread of countries of origin.

For the first time, the Refugee Olympic Team will compete under its own team emblem – a unifying symbol bringing together diverse athletes and giving the team its own unique identity.

At the centre of the emblem there is a heart, originating from the Olympic Refuge Foundation logo, to represent the belonging the team hopes to inspire and that athletes and displaced people around the world have found through sport.

Chef de Mission for the Refugee Olympic Team, Masomah Ali Zada, who competed for the Refugee Olympic Team at Tokyo 2020, advised at the ceremony held in Switzerland as of yesterday, “all of you had a dream, and today your dream to compete at the Olympic Games is closer than ever.

“With all the challenges that you have faced, you now have a chance to inspire a new generation, represent something bigger than yourselves and show the world what refugees are capable of.”

Supporting refugees and displaced populations remains a key priority for the IOC, and is part of Recommendation 11 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) was established in 2017 to build on this commitment. The Foundation functions in lieu of a traditional National Olympic Committee, managing the Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for Paris 2024.

Since its inception in 2017, the work of the ORF has resulted in almost 400,000 young people being able to access safe sport. More than 1,600 coaches have been trained in delivering safe sport sessions, and its programmes have supported young people in 11 countries across all five continents.

Hailing from different corners of the world bit with a majority coming from Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, each team member is an individual with their own story.

As the 36 athletes prepare to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, their progress can be followed on social media.

Images: Members of the Refugee Olympic Team who wil compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 (top) and the Refugee Olympic Team will compete under its own team emblem (below). Credit: IOC.

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