The U.N. estimates that over 65 million people are displaced from their homes, over 21 million of them are refugees. This is the highest level of refugees ever recorded in history.
Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC believes "these refugees athletes will show the world that despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit."
Aside from being incredible runners, swimmers and fighters, these athletes carry incredibly powerful stories. Syrian swimmer, 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, used her swimming skills to help save more than a dozen refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean. When their overloaded boat broke down as they fled to Greece, Mardini helped swim the boat to shore.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mardini explained how she has achieved her dreams.
“Crying in the corner, that’s just not me,” she said.
The Olympic opening ceremony will be held on Friday, August 5th in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.