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Meet the 10 Athletes Who Will Compete on the First-Ever Refugee Olympic Team

The Olympics will host its first-ever refugee team this year.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  OLYMPISCHE SPIELE SYDNEY 2000, Sydney; OLYMPISCHE SYMBOLE; FAHNE  (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: OLYMPISCHE SPIELE SYDNEY 2000, Sydney; OLYMPISCHE SYMBOLE; FAHNE (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)

The world is in the midst of its worst refugee crisis in decades, with more than 60 million people displaced from their homes worldwide. Many of them happen to be standout athletes — and 10 will now compete in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

On Friday, the International Olympics Committee announced the first all-refugee Olympics team in its history, which was narrowed down from a long list of 43 athletes to 10. Two come from Syria, where more than 400,000 people have been killed in a bloody civil war since 2011. Five come from South Sudan, where decades of fighting preceded the country’s most recent conflict, which has killed more than 50,000 since late 2013. Two ran from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where large-scale violence has killed millions since the early 1990s. And one, fearing his life, fled from Ethiopia, although he has not publicly explained what prompted his departure.

“These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “We will offer them a home in the Olympic Village together with all the athletes of the world. The Olympic anthem will be played in their honor and the Olympic flag will lead them into the stadium.”

Below, Foreign Policy has embedded video introductions with each one.

Syria

Rami Anis, swimmer currently hosted by Belgium.  

Yusra Mardini, swimmer currently hosted by Germany.

South Sudan

Yiech Pur Biel, 800m runner currently hosted by Kenya.

James Nyang Chiengijek, 400m runner currently hosted by Kenya.

Paulo Amotun Lokoro, 1500m runner currently hosted by Kenya.

Anjelina Nada Lohalith, 1500m runner hosted by Kenya.

Rose Nathinke Lokonyen, 800m runner hosted by Kenya.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Popole Misenga, Judo competitor hosted by Brazil.

Yolande Bukasa Mabika, Judo competitor hosted by Brazil.

Ethiopia

Yonas Kinde, marathon runner hosted by Luxembourg.

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