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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Team "Refugee" received a standing ovation at the Rio Olympics

This humanitarian news about the Olympics is the best I've seen to come out of Rio de Janeiro and from the International Olympic Committee.  It's a fresh focus, to bring the world's attention to the plight of the refugees who are risking their lives to find asylum. Pope Francis sent the team his best wishes.  
Report by Daniel Marans.  I hope the Americans will host a reception for this brave team, at the Olympic Village.

Image result for Olympics logo
Olympics logo from Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Team Refugees Received Standing Ovation At Olympics Opening Ceremony. The first team of refugee athletes in the games’ history marched behind the Olympic flag.

Team Refugees, the Olympic Games’ first ever team of refugee athletes, received a standing ovation on Friday night when they entered the stadium during the games’ opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(CNN) Ahead of competing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Yusra Mardini, along with the nine other athletes that make up the Olympic Refugee Team were sent a letter by Pope Francis.
"I extend my greetings and wish you success at the Olympic Games in Rio -- that your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity," wrote the Pope. "Your experience serves as testimony and benefits us all."

"I pray for you and ask that you, please, do the same for me,"wrote Pope Francis.

Soon after details of the Pope's letter were published, the 18-year-old Mardini jumped in the Olympic pool and won her heat in the 100 meter butterfly.

Aged 14, Mardini swam for Syria at swimming's short-course world championships in 2012. But with her home destroyed in the ongoing conflict, she and her sister decided to flee the country in August last year.The 10 athletes of Team Refugees were the second-to-last Olympic team to walk into Rio’s Maracanã Stadium as part of the time-honored parade of nations. (As is tradition, the host country, Brazil, was the final team to march out.)

Team Refugees walked behind the Olympic flag, since conflict has driven them from their home countries. Rose Nathike Lokonyen, a runner from South Sudan, led the team, carrying the flag.

As the athletes paraded, smiling and waving, the crowd in the stadium gave them a roaring cheer and stood up to applaud them.
United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon was among the audience members who could be seen applauding enthusiastically in the stands.

Observers also celebrated the team on Twitter:

manu saadia :  I will root for the refugees team at the Olympics. Those without a country.
12:31 AM - 28 Jul 2016

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