Olympic Village, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

04 August 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to Refugee Olympic Team

I know you have had very sad, terrible stories and experiences, but you are a source of inspiration for all of us. Your stories are very sad but, at the same time, you can be a source of hope for many people. 
We have 65 million people like you. This is the largest number of refugees and displaced persons, who have fled their homes, since the end Second World War. So we have serious problems. Now, the International Olympic has initiated [a programme] to give a sense of hope to many people like yourselves. You have such great athletic talents which had been hidden and just abandoned by the international community. Now you can show your strength, your capacity to run higher, to run faster, and become stronger. You have to show this!
I am sure that you will be very appreciated and very much applauded by people around the world.  At least three billion people will watch you tomorrow night. 
This is a very difficult time for you and your families, but please know that there are more people whose lives may be more difficult than yours now. You are chosen. In a sense, you are lucky and fortunate but don’t take it for granted. You have to show your friends that when you can do it, they can also do it. When IOC can do it, UN and all others can help. 
Your message to the world will really motivate and inspire people around the world to send a helping hand.
Thank you.