“The Refugee Olympic Team reflects the true Olympic spirit”, said IOC President Thomas Bach as he met for the first time with the team of coaches, doctors and officials who will support the Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio 2016 Olympics. “There has never been
such a team before – the IOC has never organised such a team before so it is new for everyone, it is without precedent”, Dr Bach added. “We want to give these refugee athletes a home; we want to offer them the same opportunity as all the other athletes of the world. We want to send a message to the world that these refugee athletes, like all refugees, can be an enrichment. They are a fantastic expression of the Olympic spirit.”
Chef de Mission Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) and Deputy Chef de Mission Isabela Mazão (Brazil), who was proposed by the UNHCR, which is supporting the IOC on this project, will lead a team of five coaches and five other team officials charged with taking care of all the required technical needs of the athletes. President Bach told the team officials that their precedent-setting work would leave an indelible mark on Olympic history. Tegla Loroupe, a three-time Olympian and former marathon world record-holder, said: “This Refugee Olympic Team will give hope to hope-less people. These athletes unite us all
together – they are a symbol not just for sport but for the whole world. The refugee issue is not a new one, it has happened before but this team gives us all an idea of our shared humanity.”
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.