IOC Refugee Olympic Team: Tune in to the live announcement for Tokyo 2020 selection
The livestream will feature interviews with selected refugee athletes and special messages from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, Tegla Loroupe the Chef de Mission Refugee Olympic Team and other dignitaries.
What is the IOC Refugee Olympic Team?
In October of 2015, with Rio approaching, IOC President Bach announced the formation of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
With over 200 national teams represented at the Games, it marked the first time a team had been created for refugee athletes.
“By welcoming the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world,” Bach said. “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.”
The team’s Chef de Mission is Tegla Loroupe, and her Deputy Chef de Mission Stephen Pattison from the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees.
It was announced in October of 2018 that an IOC Refugee Olympic Team would be formed for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well.
An inaugural team in 2016 - and another for 2020
The inaugural team, competing at Rio 2016, featured 10 athletes originally from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a group of inspiring individuals who walked into the Opening Ceremony in Rio to a standing ovation from a packed crowd.
The team consisted of two swimmers, two judokas, a marathon runner and five middle-distance runners at Rio 2016.
The team symbolised the IOC’s commitment to stand with refugees and support them through sport, and in October 2018 it was announced that a team would be formed for Tokyo 2020, as well.
With scholarships provided to 56 athletes from 13 different countries, each are training with the hope of being selected for the Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020. The athletes are training in 12 different sports: athletics; badminton; boxing; canoeing; cycling; judo; karate; taekwondo; shooting; swimming; weightlifting; and wrestling.