Teen Syrian Refugee Who Swam For Her Life Will Compete At Olympics Games
An 18-year-old Syrian refugee who had to literally swim to Europe for safety will now compete at the Olympics for Germany.
Yusra Mardini fled Damascus with her sister Sarah in August 2015 on a boat with 20 people that was made to carry just six.
Within 30 minutes the boat began filling with water so Yusra, her sister and two other men jumped into the icy water to push the boat to Lesbos.
Less than a year ago, Yusra Mardini was neck-deep in the Mediterranean Sea, swimming for her life. This month, the 18-year-old from Syria will compete on @teamrefugees, the first refugee team at the @olympics. "Crying in the corner," she said, "that's just not me." Yusra's father, a swimming coach, began training her in Damascus when she was 3, and she went on to compete for the national team. But in 2011, war broke out, and last August, Yusra and her sister Sarah embarked on a monthlong journey to Germany. When their cramped dinghy broke down between Turkey and Greece, the sisters jumped into the water to help guide the boat to safety. Yusra's clothes dragged her down and salt burned her eyes and skin. But she was determined to keep a good attitude. In June, she went from refugee to Olympian when she was named to @teamrefugees, along with 9 athletes from Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. @gordonwelters photographed #YusraMardini training in Berlin.
From there she swam to mainland Europe where she eventually found comfort in Berlin. There, coach Sven Spannerkrebs spotted her talent and began training her for the Olympics in 2020.
However, Yusra will now be able to compete at Rio 2016 after the Olympic committee created the first ever Refugee Olympic Team.
Here's her amazing story in full...
Just goes to show how much can change in a person's life in a year. A truly remarkable story.