Refugee Olympic team awarded prestigious Spanish prize

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. jury / ˈdʒʊər i / (n.) – a group of people who judge and award prizes in a contest

    The jury selected her movie as the winner of the highest award.

  2. integration / ˌɪn tɪˈgreɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of successfully joining or mixing with various groups of people

    Social integration of people with disability is important.

  3. strife / straɪf / (n.) – very angry and violent conflict or disagreement

    Negotiations must take place to end the strife between the two countries.

  4. foster / ˈfɔ stər / (v.) – to encourage or develop something positive

    Sports often foster teamwork and determination among athletes.

  5. afford / əˈfɔrd / (v.) – to provide someone with something he/she needs or wants

    The scholarship afforded him the chance to go to school.


Read the text below.

The Olympic Refugee Foundation and the refugee Olympics team are the winners of this year’s Princess of Asturias Award for sports, the Spanish foundation that organizes the prizes.

The prize jury said that their work to help refugee athletes “merges the highest values of sport, such as integration, education, solidarity and humanity, and represents a message of hope for the world.”

The International Olympic Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees founded the refugee team so athletes forced by strife to leave their nations could still compete. The team first participated in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games with 10 athletes from Ethiopia, Congo, Syria and South Sudan. For the 2020 Tokyo Games, the team had 29 members.

The Olympic Refugee Foundation was created to help displaced athletes continue their careers and to foster their wider development.

The Princess of Asturias Award jury praised the winners “for the opportunity they afford athletes in conflict zones and places where human rights are violated, preventing them from being able to perform their sporting and personal activities.”

The foundation and team were chosen out of a total of 24 nominees.

The 50,000-euro award ($52,600) is one of eight prizes, including in the arts, communication and science, handed out annually by the foundation.

The awards are among the most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking world. An awards ceremony typically takes place in October in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.

Former winners of the prize for sports include American track and field athlete Carl Lewis, and tennis players Steffi Graf of Germany and Rafael Nadal of Spain.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In your opinion, what’s the importance of humanitarian awards like the Princess of Asturias Awards? Discuss.
  • If you were a part of the judging committee, to whom would you give the award (ex. artist, philanthropist, etc.)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Why is it important to give refugee athletes a chance to compete? Discuss.
  • What do you think motivates athletes and sports organizations to do well in their field (ex. recognition, love for sports)? If you were an athlete, what do you think would be your motivation to do well in your chosen sport? Discuss.