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IOC Refugee Olympic Team –
A message of hope and solidarity

Building on the success of Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, the IOC decided in March 2021 that there will be an IOC Refugee Olympic Team Paris 2024 and Dakar 2026.

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.

The IOC Refugee Olympic Team sends a great signal about what an enrichment refugees are for our Olympic community and for society at large. Watching them compete is a great moment for all of us, and we hope everyone will join. The athletes are welcome in our Olympic community, among their fellow athletes – competing with them, but also living with them together under one roof. Thomas Bach IOC President

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 forcibly displaced people around the world and inspiring the world with the strength of their human spirit.

In October 2018, the IOC Session decided that there would be an IOC Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020. Through “Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes”, a dedicated programme created after Rio, Olympic Solidarity supported 56 promising refugee athletes from 13 countries. The IOC Refugee Olympic Team participated in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with 29 athletes competing in 12 sports.

Strengthening the support provided to refugees and populations affected by displacement continues to be a priority for the IOC and forms part of Recommendation 11 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5,  the new strategic roadmap of the IOC and the Olympic Movement through to 2025. To achieve this, not only will there be an IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026, but increased access to sport for displaced young people is being ensured 365 days a year through the work of the Olympic Refuge Foundation.

The IOC Refugee Olympic Teams Paris 2024 and Dakar 2026 initiative is funded by Olympic Solidarity. The programme offers host National Olympic Committees (NOCs) the opportunity to identify refugee athletes living in their countries and support them throughout their training, preparation, and participation in high-level competitions.

It is managed by the Olympic Refuge Foundation, which serves as an NOC and continues to help refugee athletes whether they compete at the Olympic Games or not. 

This unique project demonstrates the IOC’s commitment to standing with refugees and supporting them through sport at elite, but also grassroots, levels. The objective is not only to help refugee athletes to train with the aim of qualifying for the Olympic Games, but also to continue their sporting career and build their future. These athletes are also a symbol of hope for all refugees around the world, showing that through sport a lot can be achieved.

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 society Thomas Bach IOC President

You can follow and support the IOC Refugee Olympic Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Olympic Refuge Foundation

Working in cooperation with the United Nations, international organisation, non-governmental organisations and other foundations, the Olympic Refuge Foundation supports the protection and empowerment of vulnerable displaced people through sport, and through the creation of safe spaces.

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