Yusra Mardini is an inspiration to all, and symbol of hope for anyone who has a dream. Being only 23 years-old, Yusra has competed in her second Olympics, swimming in the 100m Butterfly for the Refugee team.

Yusra’s swimming skills have not only got her to the Olympics twice, but it has also helped her save multiple people’s lives.

Yusra Mardini: her background

Yusra Mardini

Yusra was born in Damascus and when she was a teenager she trained to be an Olympic swimmer. At age 17, Yusra and her sister fled from war-torn Syria.

Both Yusra and her sister became refugees, where they travelled from Syria, to Lebanon and to Turkey where they at last boarded a boat to Lesbos, Greece.

This boat was only a small dingy, and therefore was only made for a couple of people. However, this boat carried many more refuges, than just Yusra and her sister, that were fleeing their countries.

Whilst Yusra and her sister were on the boat, it began to take on water, so they helped keep it afloat and helped people by bringing them to shore – all by swimming and simultaneously guiding the boat in the water.

After such a traumatic and life-changing event, Yusra found her way back to the swimming pool. Yusra travelled on foot to Germany, from Greece, and began training again.

In 2016, Yusra became one of 10 people on the Refugee Olympic team, which then became her first time in the Olympics.

This year at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Yusra was joined by 28 other refugee Olympians, and competed in the 100m butterfly race.

After the event, Yusra put on her Instagram:

“I am so proud of the fact that I am representing 80 million refugees around the world knowing I am sending a message of hope to all of them doing what I love, also showing the world that refugees won’t give up easy and will keep on dreaming even after going through tough journeys.”

Yusra Mardini

In 2017, Yusra Mardini became the youngest UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. With this position, Yusra advocated for refugees and displaced people.

In 2018, Yusra released her book entitled Butterfly, which told “her story in the hopes that readers will remember that refugees are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances chased from their homes by a devastating war”.

There’s no doubt that Yusra will continue to inspire change around the world. What a woman.