Sunday, July 24, 2016

205. Refugee Athletes

I’m cross posting this blog post. I originally wrote it for my church’s blog, but I thought it would work well here. I’m really excited to see these athletes highlighted on the Olympic broadcasts in a few weeks.

Every so often I just get upset about sports. I question why people care so much about them. I distance myself from them and I just literally want to experience anything else. But these kinds of stories bring me back into to enjoying the games. Watching these videos, you can easily see that these people have found their calling. This is what they were meant to do. While many American athletes get top-notch training from an early age, it was most likely more of struggle for most of these athletes. We as Americans probably can’t even fathom what it’s like to be forced from your home and into another country where you know very few people, if anyone.

One thing that consistently inspires me is seeing people find their calling and excel at it. It’s even better when people recognize that they are doing what they love and they are so thankful for that. I think that’s how you know you’ve found a happy person.

One of the swimmers competing at the games said that he hopes there will not be a refugee team at the 2020 Olympics. That was interesting to ponder. Sadly, I don’t think that will be the case, but I’m still inspired by what these athletes have accomplished.
While many Americans will be cheering for the team in red, white, and blue during the Olympics in Rio, another team deserves your support. Ten athletes, who are also refugees, will be competing under the banner of the Refugee Olympic Team, the first of its kind in any Olympic competition. The team was formed to shed light on the worldwide refugee crisis.

Those 10 athletes are from Syria, South Sudan, and the Republic of Congo. The team will march in with the Olympic flag just before the host nation of Brazil during the opening ceremony. The athletes were identified and selected with the help of National Olympic Committee around the globe.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hopes these athletes will inspire those in dire situations across the globe.

“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. It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. These refugee athletes will show the world that despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

While it’s easy to be patriotic during an event like the Olympics, it’s just as important to remember those who aren’t able to represent their home countries.

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