When Santo Condorelli jumps into the pool at the Olympics in Tokyo, he’ll be representing Italy. He was born in Japan, but he swam for Canada in the 2016 Olympics and was previously on the U.S. junior national team.
The Jacksonville, Florida, resident is able to represent countries he wasn’t born in through the loose wording of the Olympic charter. His mother is Canadian and his father has Italian ancestry, thus allowing him to compete under each flag.
Rule 41 of the Olympic charter only requires athletes to be a national of a country to compete under that country’s flag. If an athlete wants to compete for a different country, it has to be three years after they last competed for their home country.
Condorelli, the self-proclaimed “most international, international swimmer,” isn’t alone. In fact, during the 2018 winter Olympics, roughly 8% of athletes competed for a country they weren’t born in, according to YahooSports.
In the same winter Olympics, the U.S., Canada and Russia were the countries with the most nationals competing for other nations, while South Korea, Canada and Germany had the most non-native athletes competing, according to Business Insider.
According to The Atlantic, half of Azerbaijan’s 2012 Olympic team in London were naturalized citizens. In the same Olympic Games, Great Britain’s team had 60 athletes born in other countries.
In this year’s Tokyo Olympics, Davonte Burnett is running track and field for Jamaica, where his father’s from. Burnett, who was born in Needham, Massachusetts, lived in Jamaica for two years during his childhood. He’ll be competing in the 4x400-meter mixed relay.
Chioma Onyekwere, a graduate of Fairfax’s Robinson Secondary School, is throwing discus for Nigeria. Onyekwere shares dual citizenship with the U.S. and Nigeria.
The Olympics also have a refugee team for those that went through hardships and fled their home countries because of conflict or persecution and they compete under the Olympic flag.
The team made its debut in the 2016 Olympics in Rio with 10 athletes. In this year’s games, the team is made up of 29 athletes from 11 countries, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.
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