2016 Olympics: Team Refugee


Olympics Make History

For the first time in the history of the Olympics, a “refugee” team was formed to participate in the Games. This team was composed of athletes from Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Their host countries were Kenya, Brazil, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

So who were these athletes competing for? Their home countries or their host countries?

Perhaps a little of both. Maybe they are especially competing for others like them in that in-between place they all find themselves in right now. Hopefully refugees around the world, can see, in seeing this team compete, that they can flourish too. They can hold onto their dreams and still make them come true. There is life beyond the harrowing journey they undertook with their families to make it to relative safety.

With so much anger and fear surrounding the idea of refugees in our respective countries, it is refreshing to see the refugee team receive a standing ovation from the crowded stadium during the opening ceremonies . How loved they must have felt!

Refugee Support

Dictionary.com defines “refugee” as, “a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc.”

Immigrating to another country is hard enough if you choose to do so. Having to do it on the run because you are fleeing in desperation for your safety is difficult to imagine. Being welcomed by those to whom you are fleeing gives you the opportunity to finally catch your breath. To be able to then receive an offer to compete in the Olympics must restore your hope and faith that perhaps with a lot of work and help from on high, “normalcy” can return to your life.

Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household. Deuteronomy 26:11 (NIV)

The examples of these athletes, the Olympic Committee and the people at the opening ceremonies is one we should emulate. Perseverance, remembrance and celebration of the refugees among us is what our God calls us to anyway. Who are the “refugees” among you who could use an outpouring of love?

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 3 John 5:5 (NIV)