For the first time, one of the teams competing in the Olympic Games will be made up of refugees who hail from different countries they no longer call home. Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika, both judo athletes from Congo, are two of those competing for spots on the refugee squad. They say the chance to be part of history feels like a form of vindication, a collective recognition of both the suffering and aspirations of refugees everywhere.
"For me, this is incredible because a refugee has never participated in the Olympics before," said Misenga, 24. "The whole world will be watching."
This week, the two hopefuls will find out whether they made the cut. The International Olympic Committee is expected to name members of the Refugee Olympic Team on Friday. Officials say they have identified 43 athletes who could potentially qualify for the games, but that the final refugee team will have only five to 10 members. The team will compete under the Olympic flag instead of any one country.