New Refugee Nation Will Form Team At Paris Olympics.

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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.

Hailing from different corners of the world, each team member is an individual with their own story. Like the 100 million they stand for, they also have the shared, lived, experience of their journeys – the emblem aims to convey this through its way marker arrow design.

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.

Ms Ali Zada said: “This emblem brings us all together. We are all unified by our experience – though all different, we have all had a journey to get to where we are. The athletes are not representing a specific country, they are representing the Refugee Olympic Team – having our own emblem creates a sense of belonging and empowers us to also stand for the population of more than 100 million people who share this same experience. I cannot wait to wear it proudly!”

“At the same time, you will make billions of people around the world aware of the magnitude of the refugee crisis. Therefore, I encourage everyone, around the world, to join us in cheering for you – the IOC Refugee Olympic Team,” IOC President Thomas Bach said, when addressing all of the team members, who had joined the meeting virtually.

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

Beyond that, the team represents the more than 100 million displaced people around the world. Consideration has also been given to a balanced representation of sport and gender, as well as the spread of countries of origin.

The vast majority of the athletes were selected from among the refugee athletes supported by the IOC through the Refugee Athletes Scholarship Programme, funded by the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity programme and managed by the Olympic Refuge Foundation

The 36 selected athletes are hosted by the National Olympic Committees of Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

They will compete in athletics, badminton, boxing, breaking, canoeing, cycling, judo, sport shooting, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said: “The Refugee Olympic Team should remind us of the resilience, courage and hopes of all those uprooted by war and persecution. These athletes represent what human beings can do, even in the face of extreme adversity.”

Source: Olympics.com press release.
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