I took time out from reading North Carolina’s response to the NCAA on Tuesday to attend a press conference with the 10 refugee athletes who will compete under the Olympic flag as the Refugee Olympic Team (the unfortunately acronymed R.O.T.). There are legitimate financial, social and ethical concerns about the future of the Olympic movement, but this is one thing the IOC got right.
It was pretty stirring stuff, listening to them talk matter-of-factly about losing their families or “the normal bombing and shooting.” I did not write about them for today’s paper but I will be certain to revisit them as the games proceed, because they have the potential to be one of the biggest stories of the Olympics. My colleague Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star wrote a good summation of the enormity of their travails.
They’ll march in the opening ceremonies on Friday second-to-last, ahead of Brazil, and if one of them can actually medal, it will be a truly historic moment. As one of them put it, they’re competing on behalf of 60 million refugees worldwide. That’s pressure.
THE DAY AHEAD: Still reasonably quiet in Rio. Things really get moving Thursday when the U.S. basketball team has its media availability.
Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock