Iraqi Olympians Eager to Let Games Begin

The Iraqi Olympic team posted the banners on a table during a news conference Monday.

The Iraqi Olympic team posted banners on a table during a news conference Monday. Howard Berkes, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Howard Berkes, NPR
Tiras Odisho Anwaya, the director general of the National Olympic committee of Iraq. Reuters

Tiras Odisho Anwaya, the director general of the National Olympic committee of Iraq. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

Iraq is fielding its first Olympic team since the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi athletes spoke in Athens of their excitement about competing in the Summer Games. Their 29 athletes include a soccer unit, a swimmer and two runners, among others.

But the Iraqi team is small, and its participation is expected to have more symbolic than athletic significance. NPR's Howard Berkes reports.

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