Olympic Heroes Visit Refugee Camps in Olympic Channel’s Camps to Champs


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MADRID In the inspirational and emotional new series, Camps to Champs, Olympic athletes invite viewers to experience how sports can positively change lives as they visit refugee camps and areas for the displaced. The four-episode docu-series premieres on Thursday, 8 December, and is available exclusively on the Olympic Channel digital platform.

Camps to Champs investigates 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 premiere episode, London 2012 Silver medallist and modern pentathlete Samantha Murray of Great Britain meets with Syrian refugees at Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan and discovers how they find solace in sports such as table tennis, taekwondo, wrestling and football.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the camp so far…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,” Samantha said during a visit to a holistic Taekwondo academy.

“Until my experience at the camp, I never realized that it [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 it’s [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.”

In the second episode, Olympic silver medallist in freestyle skiing and U.S. 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 D.I.Y. gym with man-made weightlifting equipment, and plays basketball with a talented 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 synchronized 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.

Camps to Champs is an Olympic Channel Original Series, and was produced in association with ITN Productions from Great Britain. Olympic Channel original programming showcases both short form and long form content focusing on athletes and their quest for success as part of the channel’s overall mission to reach younger generations and fans through content that strengthens their connection to the Olympic Movement outside of the Games themselves. The scope of the Olympic Channel’s original programming covers a diverse array of subjects including training, educational and youth-oriented topics, sustainability, sports science and nutrition, healthy and active lifestyles, historical footage and official films from the IOC’s archives.

The Olympic Channel is a new, ground-breaking digital platform where fans can experience the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round, and is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.

Olympic Channel Schedule: Camps to Champs

8 Dec. Camps to Champs*: Samantha Murray (GBR) travels to Jordan
15 Dec. Camps to Champs: Gus Kenworthy (USA) travels to Uganda
22 Dec. Camps to Champs: Sizwe Ndlovu (RSA) travels to Greece
29 Dec. Camps to Champs: Thaïs Henríquez (ESP) travels to Colombia

* Series Premiere. Schedule is subject to change.

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About the Olympic Channel

The Olympic Channel is a new, multi-platform digital experience where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. A free platform offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone and Toyota. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com