In the new series Olympic athletes invite viewers to experience life at refugee camps and the impact and value of sport for refugees in Uganda, Jordan and Greece and for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia. Each episode focuses on one location and is told through the eyes of an Olympian who demonstrates the impact of outreach programmes and grassroots sports activities.
In the second episode, Olympic silver medallist in freestyle skiing and US Ski Team’s, Gus Kenworthy visits Uganda’s Nakivale camp which is home to approximately 100,000 refugees of Central Africa’s many conflicts who have left their homes due to war, terror and discrimination.
During his experience, Gus spends time with a group of long-distance runners whose sport unites them, visits a DIY gym with man-made weightlifting equipment, and plays basketball with a refugee who dreams of someday playing professionally.
In the third instalment, Sizwe Ndlovu, an Olympic Gold medallist rower from South Africa, witnessed first-hand the plight of refugees across Greece.
On his visit, Sizwe visits a make-shift badminton club, learns how judo he helping one family recover, and meets with Syrian refugee, Ibrahim Al-Hussien, who competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in swimming for the Refugee Olympic Team (ROT).
In the fourth episode, two-time Olympic medallist synchronised swimmer, Thaïs Henríquez, of Spain meet Colombians who have been internally displaced by the long-running civil war, the majority of whom now live in settlements on the outskirts of Colombia’s cities.
Here, Thaïs discovers how sports such as football, sitting volleyball and boxing are instrumental in providing the displaced with new opportunities for a fresh outlook on life and is keeping them from negative influences.
Samantha Murray said: “It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the camp so far as I’ve never seen charity in action like this. This is real life skills in the making for these people, the next generation. They are learning here.
“Until my experience at the camp, I never realized that sport was used in such a completely different way. Sport is an excellent tool for you to grow as a person, to have fun, and to forget what is going on around you. I think the experience shaped me in a really positive way and I hope to tell as many people as possible about my story and my time in Zaatari.”