The first refugee Olympians are competing for more than medals

8 August 2016

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There are 10 refugees competing in this year's Olympics as part of a team made up of displaced people from war-torn nations. This ad will give you goosebumps.

There are 10 refugees competing in this year's Olympics as part of a team made up of displaced people from war-torn nations.

It's the first ever Refugee Olympic Team and they act as a symbol of hope for the millions of refugees around the world fleeing conflict and persecution.

Behind the team is a powerful ad created by Grey London to bring global attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis.  

London production company Just So gained intimate and exclusive access to the 10 athletes. To create the ad and a documentary co-produced with Grey London, in cooperation with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The athletes face sporting challenges over the next few weeks of the games, but in their pasts they have survived bombings, walked barefoot through entire countries and swum for hours.

Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s head of communications and public information, said: “These ten remarkable athletes embody the determination and resilience of the many millions of people fleeing conflict and persecution worldwide. They remind us that refugees are people just like you and me, people who want to achieve their full potential against all odds.”

The 10 athletes are: Rami Anis, Syrian Swimmier, Syrian swimmer, Yusra Mardini;South Sudanese runners Yiech Pur Biel (800m), James Nyang Chiengjiek (400m), Anjelina Nada Lohalith (1,500m), Rose Nathike Lokonyen (800m), and Paulo Amotun Lokoro (1,500m); Ethiopian marathon runner Yonas Kinde; and judo players Yolande Mabika and Popole Misenga, both from Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sarah Jenkins, CMO of Grey London, added: “As a creative agency, we work with brands to raise awareness and change perceptions. In partnership with Just So, our “client” is the global refugee population. And our goal is to change the way the world sees them. By coproducing this film and using our combined strategic and creative skills to help it land in culture, we hope to make a positive contribution to the refugee crisis.” 

The UN is also lobbying for signatures to a petition under the banner #WithRefugees: It is being supported by Ben Stiller, Mika, Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch and aims to help child refugees get an education, rehouse families and help them get work or learn new skills.

Additional Footage Courtesy of: BBC, The Guardian, Journeyman TV, Associated Press, CNN, Christian Broadcast Network, Discover The Journey, Marc Silver, Nick Francis, Amnesty International, Lior Sperandeo, ITN Source, Samaritans Purse, Invisible Children, Jonathan Darby, Human Rights Watch.
From Just So:
Directors: J&J
Executive Producer: Richard Ascott
Creative Directors: Jonny Madderson & Jono Stevens
Producer: Matt Diegan
From Grey London:
Head of Content Production/ Exec Producer: Jessica Ringshall
Creative Director: Andy Lockley, Pete Gatley
Assistant Producer: Talia Shear
Account Director: Justine Deighan
CMO: Sarah Jenkins

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