The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio just got a little bit cooler, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave the green light for a plan that would let a team of 10 refugees take part in the games.
The event is set to kick off on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro city, and 43 refugee athletes have been identified as possible candidates for the 10-man team.
“The final number of athletes that would make up this team depends on qualification criteria,” said IOC president Thomas Bach
Since they won’t be competing for their nation(s) of origin, the urges will compete under the flag of the IOC.
“I can just give you my feeling, but I believe that this team could feature between five and 10 athletes.” Bach added.
A few things have to happen before they can take part, though. Candidates will undergo a background check to verify their eligibility, nationality and refugee status before any decisions are made.
“We have all been touched by the magnitude of this refugee crisis. By welcoming this team, we want to send a message of hope to all the refugees in the world.” Bach said.
A Syrian swimmer living in Germany, a Brazil-based judoka from Congo and an Iranian Tae Kwon Do fighter training in Belgium have been under the watchful eye of the IOC since December, as their skill level has been deemed appropriate for the Olympic games. The official list of athletes who will be competing in the games, and will march ahead of the Brazilian team in the opening ceremony, will be named by the IOC executive board in June.
Aside from the three aforementioned athletes, the IOC have not given any details regarding where the other team members will come from or which sports they’ll compete in. The refugee athletes will be given team uniforms and will have officials, coaches and other personnel appointed to their camp where they’ll live amongst the other Olympic athletes.
The IOC will cover all of their expenses and the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity program will provided them with financial an other assistance should they be selected and pass the drug-testing procedures mandated by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Good on you, IOC. Can’t wait to see these men and women walk out in front of billions of people worldwide!