Team Tibet

Since Tibet is not recognized as a sovereign state by the International Olympic committee, there can be no official Tibetan Olympic team. In an act of defiance and solidarity, a group of young Tibetan refugees decided to hold their own Olympic games held in the foothills of the Himalayas in India.

After the defeat of the Tibetan army by the Chinese, on the 23rd of May 1951 the Chinese Government and a Tibetan delegation  signed the Seventeen Point Agreement which officially affirmed Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. When the 14th Dali Lama fled to India in 1959, he called the agreement invalid and claimed his government as the only legitimate representative of Tibet. The resulting chaos, Chinese aggression and famine caused many Tibetans to flee Tibet and live in exile.

Not trained as athletes, but full of determination, young exiled Tibetans arrived to train and compete in the games. Woven through training routines and competitions are the stories and memories of their homeland Tibet and the lives they have led since their departure. Their devotion to an autonomous Tibet, the Dali Lama and the preservation of their culture is strong and persists to this day.

Next year marks 70 years since the annexation of Tibet by China. China continues to govern Tibet with a tight grip and abuse of Tibetans and suppression of their culture continues. By Alison Pinkney, 2019, 110'.