Refugee Olympic Team

The Refugee Olympic Team watched 204 countries stroll through the Parade of Nations at Friday's Opening Ceremony before it. But that's nothing like the sacrifice the athletes made to get to Rio.

And the standing ovations the Refugee Olympic Team received is nothing like anything its athletes have heard in their lives.

Traditionally, nations march in alphabetical order based on the host nation's language. The host nation enters the stadium last, regardless.

For this year's parade, the Refugee Olympic Team waited with Brazil, as all other nations marched, a subtle reminder of the lack of identity that comes with being a refugee. However, when the refugees came in between Zimbabwe and Brazil, at spot No. 205, the Rio crowd erupted in cheers perhaps only eclipsed by the host nation itself.

When International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach stepped to the podium, some cheers turned into boos. But Bach used the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team as a reference point for the Olympic spirit.

"We are living in a world of crises, mistrust and uncertainty," Bach said. "Here is our Olympic answer: The 10,000 best athletes in the world, competing with each other, at the same time living peacefully together in one Olympic Village, sharing their meals and their emotions.

"We welcome the Refugee Olympic Team. Dear refugee athletes, you are sharing a message of hope to all of the refugees around the world. You had to flee from your homes because of violence, hunger, or just because you were different. In this Olympic world, we welcome you as an enrichment to our unity and diversity."

The Refugee Olympic Team features six men and four women from four countries -- Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo -- and will compete in swimming, athletics and judo.

They come from all different, races, religions, cultures and experiences, but for the time being, they bond over their fight for acceptance somewhere in the world.

On Saturday morning, Yusra Mardini, a swimmer originally from Syria, won her 100-meter butterfly heat.

Mardini may have the inside track on the Refugee Olympic Team's first medal. Her semifinal is Saturday night, with the 100 fly final Sunday in primetime.

More Olympics:
-- How Gymnastics Star Simone Biles Stays 'Normal'
-- Kyrie Irving And Coach K Have 'Unfinished Business'
-- How Christen Press Stays Sane Despite Crazy Schedule

Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.