Top 5 Rio Olympics Immigrant Medalists

Rio Olympics Medals

Now that the 2016 Olympic Games are over and the winners were decided, let’s take a look at the top 5 immigrant medalists:


1. Simone Biles

Simone BileThe winner of 4 gold medals and 1 bronze medal at Rio 2016, Simone Biles was born and raised in the U.S., but she is of Belizean origins as her mother, Nellie Cayetano, is originally from Belize. Simone Biles competed as a member of U.S.A.’s artistic gymnastics women’s team. She won a bronze medal for her performance on the balance beam, three gold medals for individual performance at vault, floor exercise, individual all-around and shared a forth gold medal with her gymnastics team members.



2. Mohamed Farah

Mohamed FarahRunner Mohamed Farah, also known as Mo Farah, is of humble origins, but this didn’t stop him from becoming a golden medalist athlete. He was born in Somalia and spent the early years of his childhood in Djibouti with his twin brother. At the age of eight, Mo moved to Great Britain to join his father, Mukhtar Farah, who worked there as an IT consultant. Mo’s athletic talent was discovered by his physical education teacher and the rest is history. Mo Farah won 2 gold medals at the Rio Olympics on behalf of Great Britain’s team: one in the men’s 10,000 m competition and the other in the men’s 5,000 m contest.


3. Danell Leyva

Danell LeyvaDanell Leyva was born in Cuba and defected to the United States with his mother, Maria Gonzalez, when he was only a year old. Both his mother and his stepfather (Yin Alvarez) were members of Cuba’s gymnastics team. Danell’s biological father lives in Spain, so the athlete developed a very close relationship with his stepfather, who also became his couch. At 2016 Olympics, Danell won 2 silver medals as part of U.S.A.’s artistic gymnastics men’s team for his performances at parallel bars and horizontal bar.


4. Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-SmithDina Asher-Smith is another Olympic team member with foreign origins. She was born in Orpington, England, but her parents are both Jamaicans and keen runners. She even credited her success to her Jamaican heritage. Dina won the bronze medal in the 4 x 100 m relay competition along with her Great Britain athletics women team.



5. Christine Ohuruogu

Christine OhuruoguWe stay with the athletic Great Britain team to take a look at another winner with foreign origins. Christine Ohuruogu was born to Igbo Nigerian parents (Southern Nigeria indigenous people), but she was raised in the UK, near the 2012 Summer Olympics stadium in Stratford. Her sister, Victoria Ohuruogu, is also an athlete, more exactly a sprints competitor. Christine won the bronze medal in the 4 x 400 m relay competition with her other 6 athletics team members.


Many other immigrant athletes competed at the Rio Olympics, proving to be a real asset for their adopting countries. For example, the U.S. team included Nick Delpopolo (born in Montenegro) in Judo, runners Charles Jock (born in Ethiopia) and Hillary Bor (from Kenya), to name just a few. The Great Britain team participated with Joshua Buatsi (Ghanaian boxer), Adam Gemili (half-Iranian, half-Moroccan sprinter), Johanna Konta (Hungarian born tennis player) and many others.

For the first time in history, Rio also hosted an Olympic Refugee Team, consisting of 10 athletes from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia and Congo.

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