IOC Refugee Olympic Team – A message of hope and solidarity
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 – the first of its kind – to take part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Ten months on from the announcement, 10 athletes, who originally hailed from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were competing alongside 11,000 fellow athletes in Brazil, sending a message of hope and inclusion to millions of refugees around the world and inspiring the world with the strength of their human spirit.
This unique project demonstrates the IOC’s commitment to stand with refugees and support them through sport, and it also shows how Olympic Solidarity, through its Refugee Athlete Support Programme, helps refugee athletes not only to train with the aim of qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 but also to continue their sporting career and build their future.
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 societyThomas Bach IOC President
In October 2018, with originally two years to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC Session decided that there would be a Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020, and entrusted Olympic Solidarity with the task of establishing the conditions for participation and defining the identification and selection process for a team in Tokyo. This process is being carried out in close collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the National Olympic Committees, the International Sports Federations and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
Following the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the members of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020 were announced in June 2021.