Rio Athlete in Focus
Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee who reached the safety of Germany after escaping her war-hit homeland, can now fulfill her dream to compete in the Rio Olympics 2016.
Many speculated the eighteen year old athlete is set to become a star of the Games. Her inspiring story and perseverance to showcase her prowess in swimming at the Rio Olympic games has captured the hearts of many including the media.
It was also a dream come true for Mardini to compete in the Olympics. In fact, the Germany-based athlete explained at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium how she felt she was living “a dream come true” just 11 months after she plunged into the cold Aegean Sea to escape the war that has been tormenting her homeland.
Mardini competes in the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly at the Rio Olympics.
Mardini’s Extraordinary Journey
Mardini and her family were living a happy life in Syria. But when war ravaged Damascus, Mardini and elder sister Sarah fled the fighting. The young girls went through ordeals including trekking through camps in Lebanon until they reached Berlin, Germany.
Like thousands of other Syrians, the young girls sought to make a new life in Europe. But their lives were in peril by going through challenges. One of the challenges was making the treacherous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece in a poorly equipped boat they called the dinghy.
As an expert swimmer who competed for Syria at 2012 world championships, Mardini and her sister were able to push their dinghy towards the Greek island of Lesbos, thus saving the lives of fellow migrants.
Mardini as a Symbol of Hope
Her dramatic escape from Syria and her willpower to pursue her dreams made Mardini a symbol of hope.
The talented swimmer appeared in social media and Hollywood showed interest for a potential film of her story. Her Facebook page is also bustling with messages from her fans.
When asked about her message on Rio, the young athlete said “Never give up.”