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Olympic Refugee Team Enjoys A Raucous Reception In Rio

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A roar came over the crowd at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã stadium at the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday night.

But it wasn't for the Brazilian team — that would come later.

Instead, tens of thousands of people stood up and cheered for the Refugee Olympic Team.

team refugee opening ceremony
The Refugee Olympic Team arrives for the opening ceremony. (Photo: David Gray/Reuters)

The squad is made up of 10 athletes from around the world: five are from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one from Ethiopia.

They are all competing under the Olympic flag in an effort to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis, the IOC said last month.

refugee olympic team

"These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a news release.

"These refugee 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."

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The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 65.3 million people have been forcibly displaced throughout the world. As many as 21.3 million are considered refugees.

It says that 10 million people are considered stateless.

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Rio Olympics 2016 Opening Ceremony
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