The 2016 Rio Olympics has been an emotional roller coaster that – I think we can all agree – we were in no way prepared for.
As I sat there, a few nights in, watching the synchronised diving with my sister, I exclaimed “I CAN’T HANDLE HOW MUCH I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. HOW CAN ONE THING BE SO MUCH FUN?”
And more than a week later, I firmly stand by my outburst.
But on top of being unbelievably exciting and entertaining, the Rio Olympics has given us all of the feelings. In a world where 40 million people are displaced by war, where terror attacks have become a customary part of the news cycle, and where hate, violence, poverty and climate change seem to be an inevitable and terrifying feature of our futures, the Rio Olympics might just be what we all needed.
1. The introduction of the Refugee Olympic Team, and the incredible athletes within it.
The image of Ibrahim Al-Hussein, a Syrian refugee, carrying the Olympic flame through the Eleonas refugee and migrant camp as part of the 2016 torch relay, was a powerful and symbolic act performed upon the world stage.
The team was introduced by the United Nations Refugee Agency as an effort “to show solidarity with the world’s refugees”.
Before the Olympics even began, we heard the story of 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, who fled war torn Syria by boat less than a year ago. When the motor of the boat stopped working, Mardini and her sister, both strong swimmers, pushed the boat for over three hours until they reached Lesbos.