For the first time in the history of the IOC, a team consisting solely of refugees will compete together at the Olympics, the IOC announced Friday.
The Refugee Olympic Team will be made up of 10 refugee athletes, who will march with the Olympic flag at the Rio de Janeiro games’ opening ceremony and will compete on the level of countries around the world thanks to funding from various NOCs.
The team is made up of an Ethiopian athlete, two Syrian athletes, two athletes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and five South Sudanese athletes.
“These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement. “We will offer them a home in the Olympic Village together with all the athletes of the word. The Olympic anthem will be played in their honour and the Olympic flag will lead them into the Olympic Stadium. This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.”
The Rio Olympics began on Aug. 5.