IOC: Refugees Can Compete in the 2016 Olympics
October 29, 2015
This week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has responded yet again to the crisis facing many refugees in Europe. In an unprecedented move, the IOC voted to allow refugee athletes to compete in the 2016 Olympics, despite not having a home country which they will represent. Instead, the athletes will compete under the Olympic flag and will be welcomed into the games with the Olympic anthem.
Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, said in a statement, “In the Olympic Village, we see tolerance and solidarity in their purest form. Athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees live together in harmony and without any kind of discrimination.”
The IOC is relying on the assistance of the 206 National Olympic Committees to identify qualified refugees for competition.
More than 600,000 refugees have reached the shores of European countries, according to the International Organization for Migration, but the numbers may be higher. This year more than 3,000 refugees have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Refugees are coming from many different parts of the world, but the top three countries of origin are Syria, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.