Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, it is the first time when the team of refugee athletes will take part in international games alongside with 200 national teams. Refugee Olympic Athletics team includes athletes, which were forced to flee their homelands.
They have “no home, no flag and no national anthem”, but they have already inspired people all over the world.
Some of athletes fled wars, kidnappings, persecution and being made child soldiers. Some were separated from their families at a young age while others' homes and villages were destroyed. Some were caged and starved for losing competitions in their home nation. Some made perilous journeys across continents for freedom.
They include two Syrian swimmers, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a marathoner from Ethiopia and five middle-distance runners from South Sudan. The refugee team members were chosen from a short list of 43 athletes who were identified at Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Africa, as well as from shelters in Europe.
A team of six male and four female athletes will make history by walking into the opening ceremony at Maracanã Stadium, ahead of host country Brazil and just behind the white Olympic Games flag, when the Rio 2016 Games open this Friday. They will compete without representing a nation, supported by 15 coaches, technicians and trainers.
They have arrived in the Olympic Village on August, 3 and were welcomed with cheers, music and dancing. Hundreds of athletes from other countries were there to greet the refugees at a special welcoming ceremony.