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Team Refugees: Popole Misenga

Popole Misenga was 6 when his mother was killed. Three years later, he was separated from his family during the chaos of Democratic Republic of Congo's brutal civil war. Rescued after eight days in a forest, Misenga was taken to a home for displaced children, where he discovered judo. 

"When you are a child, you need to have a family to give you instructions about what to do, and I didn't have one," Misenga, 28, said, according to UNHRC. "Judo helped me by giving me calmness, discipline, direction — everything. It is a part of my life."

Misenga's talent earned him a spot on his country's national judo team, but his coach would lock him in a cage when he lost a competition. He sought political asylum in Brazil during the 2013 world championships.

"I want to be part of the Refugee Olympic Athletes to keep dreaming, to give hope to all refugees and take sadness out of them. I want to show refugees can do important things." —Popole Misenga, UNHRC

Team Refugees Heads to the Closing Ceremony

Congratulations to Team Refugees! We look forward to celebrating you again at the closing ceremony. We stand with you.

Team Refugee's Rose Nathike Lokonyen Prepares to Race

Rose Nathike Lokonyen, the Team Refugees flag bearer, steps onto the track Wednesday morning in hopes of continuing her incredible journey, from escaping the conflict of South Sudan, to her first competitions barefoot running through a camp in northern Kenyan, to Nairobi where she lives and trains, and now to Rio where she'll compete in Wednesday's 800m Olympic preliminaries. Watch her race here.

Kakuma Stands With Team Refugees

The refugees at Kakuma had the opportunity to watch five of their own compete on the international stage when FilmAid Kenya screened the Olympic Games at the camp in Northern Kenya. The five South Sudanese runners on Team Refugees represent the hopes and aspirations of millions — see what they mean to those back at Kakuma. 

How Misenga Made History Twice in Rio

Congratulation to Team Refugees member Popole Misenga. He competed in judo in Rio and inspired millions. Read more about his moving story here. 

Cheering on Team Refugees in Competition Today

Team Refugees' James Nyang Chiengjiek, Yiech Pur Biel, and Anjelina Nadai Lohalith compete in track and field events today in Rio. As we watch these extraordinary athletes take the world stage, let's take this opportunity to tell everyone we stand with Team Refugees. 

Read more about the South Sudanese runners' jaw-dropping journeys fleeing violence to the refugee camp Kakuma — and how they joined Team Refugees to compete in Rio.

Team Refugees: Five Athletes' Remarkable Journeys

From the flames of war in southern Sudan, five young runners who survived violence, displacement and the confines of a refugee camp are preparing to make history at the Rio Games.

The three men and two women make up half of the first refugee Olympic team. They never imagined they would ever make it this far.

The first time Anjelina Nadai Lohalith heard about the Olympics was when she found out she made the team.

"What is a Rio?" she recalled asking. "We didn't know whether it is a country or a name of a person. We didn't know. It was just like a dream."

Now it's a reality.

Read about their stories here.

Mardini's Journey Not Nearly Over

While Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini came in seventh in her heat Wednesday, meaning she won't continue onto the semi-finals, her journey as a role model to millions is hardly over. 

Congratulations to, Yusra, and all of those on Team Refugees for accomplishing the truly extraordinary. The world is watching and supporting you all. 

Misenga's Coach: 'For me, he left the arena with a medal on his chest'

Team Refugees' Popole Misenga won his preliminary fight this morning in judo, but lost to South Korean Donghan Gwak in the second round. But that doesn't mean he's not a champion in our eyes and in those of his fellow refugees. 

How Two Judokas Went From Orphanage to the Olympic Stage

Yolande Mabika and Popole Misenga both fled the Democratic Republic of Congo at a young age and were sent to orphanages where they discovered judo. Now Mabika and Misenga are competing in Rio as part of the first-ever all-refugees team. 

"My message to the refugees of the world would be not to give up on hope, and to keep believing, to have faith in their hearts," says Mabika.

Misenga competes at 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, and Mabika competes at 9 a.m. ET on Friday.

See their remarkable stories here.

See How Team Refugees Inspires Other Refugee Athletes

A boxer who fled Iraq explains what Team Refugees means to him in this video from Purpose, which partnered with UNICEF and UNHCR. "The first time I heard a team of refugees would compete in Rio, it motivated me," he says. 

This video gives us the feels. Check it out now.

Rami Anis: 'What a Great Feeling. I Am in a Dream'

Congratulations to Team Refugees' Rami Anis! The Syrian swimmer competed in the 100-meter freestyle today, and will swim again in the 100-meter butterfly on Thursday at noon ET.