For the first time in history, a team of athletes comprised entirely of refugees is competing in the Olympic games. Ten athletes from Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Ethiopia comprise the official Refugee Olympic Team. The International Olympic Committee formed the team to protect athletes who were forced to flee their home countries due to international crises. Displacement from their homes leaves them without a national Olympic committee to support them, without a flag to wear on their chests, without an anthem to play on the podium following their hoped-for victories. In 2016, these athletes reflect the unity represented by the Olympics rings as they compete in swimming, judo and various track and field events. Learn more about these incredible athletes here.

Once again, the Olympics has provided common ground for athletes to represent their countries and for fans to show their national pride by embracing the diversity while uniting through sports. Perhaps those of us watching can carry forward that notion of common ground and be mindful of the contributions of the individuals we encounter daily in our cities, our workplaces and among our neighbors.

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