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Rio Olympic 2016: Refugee team gets a new flag and an anthem

The Refugee team which marched under the Olympic flag, have their own flag designed by a Syrian refugee.

Refugee Flag
The Refugee team’s new flag

This is the first time in the history of Olympics that a team of refugees is participating. Ten athletes of the team are not only inspiring the world with their survival stories but also with their brilliant performance in the Rio Olympics.

The Refugee Olympic team, who did not have a flag to represent themselves, walked under the Olympic flag and sang the Olympic anthem during the opening ceremony. The team recently got a flag to represent themselves and an anthem to bind them together. Both the flag and anthem are made by two Syrian refugees who supported the team with their talents. 

When the team walked into the Maracana stadium in Rio for the opening ceremony, they received a standing ovation. They walked together in unity to represent their sheer will power to show that they can make impossible possible. Their confidence made the world believe that they are going to achieve something great.

During the ceremony, the refugees walked under the Olympic flag as they did not have a common symbol which could tie the athletes from four different nations together. 

Now, the refugee athletes have a common symbol, sense of identity and recognition after the flag was designed by the Syrian refugee artist Yara Said. Yara completed her graduation at the Faculty of Arts at the Damascus University, left her country in search of a safe place.

As per the report, the artist, who now lives in Amsterdam, said, "Black and orange (colors of the life vests) is a symbol of solidarity for all those who crossed the sea in search of a new country. I myself wore one, which is why I so identify with these colors—and these people.”

The Refugee Anthem

The refugee team, who were facing problems due the Olympic protocol to have an anthem, now have an anthem of their own. A Syrian refugee and composer Moutaz Arian, who now lives in Istanbul, wrote the anthem for the refugee team. 

Arian, who was studying music at the University of Damascus, had to flee his country after being threatened with conscription into Assad’s army. The composer said, "I want to make music not just for Kurds or Arabs, but for the whole world.”


This team did not represent any nation, but they represented unity. Like every other athlete in the world, these refugees too dreamt to be a part of the Olympics games. The Refugee Olympic team and their inclusion in the game prominently reflected the steady growth of refugees, their crisis and laid a light on the plight of millions displaced by war and conflict across the globe. For them and the world, not just medals, even their participant in the game is a big thing.

Also Read: First-ever refugee team ascends to Rio's Christ statue 

Refugee Team
For the first time in Olympics history, a team of refugees is competing

Yusra Mardini, who won her 100-metre butterfly heat on Saturday, was a teenage swimmer from Syria who braved a Mediterranean crossing in a leaky dinghy. Mardini was joined in the pool by fellow swimmer Rami Amis, who also fled Syria as a refugee.

Her teammate Popole Misenga defeated Indian judoka Avtar Singh in the second round of the Men’s 90kg elimination Round of 32. Misenga spent eight days hiding in a forest as a terrified child to flee violence and fighting. 

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