For her 14th birthday, Annette Edmondson asked her parents whether they would sponsor a child with World Vision instead of giving her a present. Ten years later, now an Olympic cyclist, Annette finally got to meet her sponsored child, Vanessa, in Brazil. It was an emotional meeting ... and the tears flowed.
Prior to the Games "Nettie" spoke to World Vision about the pride she feels representing Australia - and the pride she feels being a child sponsor.
Knowing that she is making a difference in someone else's life, she said, is "a feeling like no other".
It was only in May this year that Nettie, hearing she’d been selected to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics, wondered aloud on Twitter whether she would also be able to meet her sponsored child while in Brazil.
World Vision, in partnership with the Seven Network, agreed to make it happen.
“Representing Australia is something I’m really proud of,” she says. “It’s taken a lot of work but I’ve had a lot of support along the way …
“All over the world there are children, like Vanessa, who need just a little bit of help in order to achieve their dreams too.
“Not all of us get to represent their country at the Olympics, but all of us can make a difference.”
Vanessa is among more than 70,000 children in Brazil sponsored through World Vision. Our work in Brazil reaches almost three million people in 1,180 communities through projects that combat the causes of poverty in areas including health, education and child protection.
Refugee Olympic Team: A symbol of hope
In Rio, an Olympic Refugee Team also took part for the first time - 10 refugee athletes who were a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide and brought global attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis. The athletes competed as the Refugee Olympic Team.
Unveiling the first-ever refugee team in June, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem. We will offer them a home in the Olympic Village together with all the athletes of the world. The Olympic anthem will be played in their honour and the Olympic flag will lead them into the Olympic Stadium. This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis. It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. These refugee athletes will show the world that despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit.”