What a warm welcome! Competing for the first time ever, Team Refugee was embraced with a standing ovation at the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5. It seems the ten athletes who once had to flee from their native country have found a new home amongst fellow Olympians at Maracana Stadium.
One by one, countries walked through Maracana Stadium in the Parade of Nations during the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. While most of the nations had competed in the Olympics before, this was the first timer for #TeamRefugee. Before Brazil closed out the parade, #TeamRefugee marched into the stadium waving a flags of the Olympics logo. As they made their Olympic debut, the crowd went absolutely crazy, saving their loudest cheers for the newcomers! Not even the stunning Gisele Bundchen received such applause during her catwalk. Check out some of the fans’ Tweets — even Ryan Seacrest was mesmerized!
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) August 6, 2016
— Tanya Liliana (@TaCaGo) August 6, 2016
when the refugee team came out…straight chills
— Insaaf M. (@insaafmoh) August 6, 2016
I want the refugee team to get gold in everything they compete in
— collette (@ColletteAR) August 6, 2016
The ten athletes make up a diverse group of refugees, who fled from countries such as Syria, Sudan, Congo, and Kenya to find a better and happier live away from war and poverty. Two of the refugees, Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika found their home in the hosting country of Brazil. Not only are #TeamRefugee worthy opponents this year, they are symbolize a multitude of important messages about our current world issues, focusing mainly on the refugee crisis. Did you know there are over 19 MILLION refugees in the world? And that number is going to keep increasing unless we find a way to distribute health care, food, water, money, and education more evenly.
So, what kind of preparation goes into such a grande performance? Well, Brazilian film director Fernando Meirelles (known for City of God), producer Daniela Thomas, and world-renowned cinematographer Deborah Colker all put their genius creative minds together to cast over 6,000 volunteers to dance in the opening ceremony. Rehearsals had been going on since May. Impressive work, huh?! Back in June, Deborah promised us a “masterpiece” with great deal of “passion,” and she did not disappoint.
HollywoodLifers, were you moved by Team Refugee’s emotional grande entrance?