It appears that we’ll soon have an Olympic team that represents all of the refugees and stateless persons in the world.
In the face of unprecedented global displacement as a result of war, despotism, and poverty, the famously apolitical International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made an unprecedented political statement. It has created a team of 10 refugee-athletes from Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia who will compete not just for individual Olympic glory, but for the dignity of the world’s 65.3 million displaced people. Their very presence in Rio is a call for peace in war-torn nations and acceptance of refugees elsewhere in the world.
It’s a pretty inspiring story, which will hopefully draw more awareness to the many refugees that long for another chance at a normal life. Which is why I’m proposing an added component to the refugees’ Olympic involvement: If they beat a country in a sport, they should gain citizenship in that country.
That addition alone would send the ratings for the Games into the stratosphere, but we can’t stop there. Say the refugee team beats Moldova or some shit in an event, but they advance to face a much better nation like the U.S. They can either opt out and gain citizenship to Moldova (ouch), or go double or nothing and risk it all to possibly earn a place in the superior country.
Hopefully this becomes a thing. Even if it doesn’t, one thing’s for sure: the refugee team won’t have any problem with the risks that come with the Olympics being in Brazil..
Image via Shutterstock