Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live

Sport

sport

First ever Olympic refugee athletes immortalized in Rio

First ever Olympic refugee athletes immortalized in Rio

Brazil

The faces of Rio refugee athletes have been drawn on the walls of the Olympic Boulevard by a Brazilian painter.

It is the first time since 1896 that a refugee team is participating in the Olympics.

Among the ten athletes who fled their countries without protection, eight are from Africa.

These are the faces of hope. These are the faces of, you know, struggle. These are the faces of overcoming that struggle.

Rio officials say the mural is the real legacy of this games.

The athletes share their experiences as quite amazing although admitting that the Rio standards are so high.

“For me, they’re already gold medal champions. There is no medal for them, there is no medal that justifies the pleasure or the weight each of them carries, for the story each of them has,” one of the artists said.

According to the UN refugee agency, their athletic prowess and resilience is a tribute to the courage and perseverance of all refugees.

“I hope they feel inspired. I hope they ask questions. ‘Who are these people? Who are these faces?’ These are the faces of hope. These are the faces of, you know, struggle. These are the faces of overcoming that struggle. So, I hope that people really feel moved by these portraits and ask the right questions.” Juliana Luna, media worker with the UN Refugee Agency said.

Even though winning a medal has been a difficult task for the refugee athletes, they are proud of being ambassadors for other refugees.