Underdogs Worth Rooting For

I will never make it to the Olympics, even though athletically I’ve come farther than I’d ever hoped.  (If you’d seen how I struggled in Little League, you’d know what I mean.)  But I do share one trait with elite athletes — disappointment.  It’s very discouraging to set your sights on a goal, particularly one you know is within reach, and then fall short.  It must be doubly frustrating when you fall short through no fault of your own.

Such is the plight of many world-class athletes today.  They would have a legitimate shot at making their country’s Olympic team.  That is, if their country hadn’t disintegrated around them.  Yes, they are refugees.  They come from Syria, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, many places.  Too many places.

But there is hope.  This year in Brazil for the first time, the International Olympic Committee will be fielding a team of  between five and ten athletes made up solely of refugees.  They won’t represent a country, but all of those athletes without one.  They deserve our best wishes because this may be their only chance to regain a normal life.

There is an excellent article on this subject at http://m.csmonitor.com/World/2016/0526/Refugee-runners-Olympics-fields-its-first-team-without-a-country SHOES

“When the refugee runners first arrived at the training camp, many had never worn running shoes before and found them painful.” (Photo by Ryan Lenora Brown, copied from the website.)

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