The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a list of 43 athlete-refugees, both men and women, that are in line to compete on a team at the Summer Olympics; as many as 10 will actually make the trip to Rio this summer, according to CNN.com.
The IOC has $2 million set aside in a fund specifically dedicated to aiding people on this team, which will be called Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (or ROA).
“By welcoming ROA to the Olympic Games in Rio, we want to send a message of hope to all the refugees of the world. This team will be treated like all the other teams,” said Thomas Bach, President of the IOC.
This provides a unique opportunity for athletes to still embrace their disciplines, the Olympic Games and a version of freedom, even if competing with their country across their chest isn’t an option. And for some, it brings hope that they might be reunited with their families after, for some, years of separation. One athlete, judoka Yolande Marika, escaped terrible war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is eligible to compete in judo and says this could present an opportunity to find her family after three years.
Some are saying this is inappropriate, while others applaud the decision. What do you think? Tweet us @WomensRunning with your thoughts.