3 May 2024

Largest ever refugee team to compete at Paris Olympics

9:06 am on 3 May 2024
Refugee Olympic Team during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Refugee Olympic Team during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: AFP

The International Olympic Committee has unveiled its largest refugee Olympic team to date for the Paris 2024 Games, with 36 athletes from 11 different countries.

The athletes, from countries including Syria, Sudan, Iran and Afghanistan, will compete across 12 sports in Paris, the third time such a team has formed for the Summer Olympics.

"With your participation in the Olympic Games, you will demonstrate the human potential of resilience and excellence," IOC President Thomas Bach said during the team's announcement.

"This will send a message of hope to the more than 100 million displaced people around the world."

For the first time, the team will compete under its own emblem.

The IOC unveiled its first refugee team for the Rio 2016 Olympics with 10 athletes to raise awareness of the issue as hundreds of thousands of people were pouring into Europe from the Middle East and elsewhere escaping conflict and poverty.

The team that competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, held in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was already almost three times as big as the inaugural team at the Rio Games, with a total of 29 athletes competing in 12 sports.

The Paris Olympics refugee team announcement comes shortly after Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, who ran as a refugee athlete in the 1500 metres at the 2016 and 2021 Olympics, was suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.


  • From stones to plaudits for refugee team's Ali Zada
  • Refugee Olympic team to return for Tokyo 2020
  • Refugee team to compete in Rio