Author(s)Koller, Dionne L.
International Olympic Committee
International Association of Athletics Federations
World Anti-Doping Agency
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AbstractThe International Olympic Committee recently announced that 10 refugee athletes from troubled or war-torn nations would be allowed to compete in the summer Olympic Games. The committee believes that the group, officially known as the Refugee Olympic Team, will serve as a “symbol of hope” in Rio de Janeiro. The I.O.C.’s action to field a refugee team is an example of the Games’ spirit at its best — using sport to transcend politics and promote human dignity. The decision also comes at a crucial moment when the Olympic movement’s fundamental values seem under attack. Few issues exemplify the crisis more than the allegations of state-supported doping in Russia. For this reason, the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations must use their authority to grant a similar special eligibility status to another athlete. In this competitor’s case, it is not because she has been forced to flee a conflict zone, but because her moral actions have helped to preserve the integrity of the Olympic movement itself.