Yusra Mardini Rami Anis and Yusra Mardini at the training pool, July 28, 2016. The refugees each had to pay $1500 for the 10-kilometre journey to the Greek island of Lesbos. Mardini, Sarah and two other refugees jumped into open water and swam through the sea for three hours, guiding the boat to the Greek island of Lesvos. If four years ago Refugee Olympic Team swimmer Yusra Mardini was a wide-eyed first-time Olympian at Rio 2016, the Syrian native, now 22, is a self-assured international athlete, best-selling author, United Nations ambassador and so much more. On September 7, they finally arrived at a large refugee camp in Berlin’s west. They were shocked when they saw their boat: an inflatable dinghy meant for six people. As the poster girl for the Olympic refugee team, Yusra became an international celebrity. In the two and a half years since she arrived in Europe, Yusra – pronounced “eesra” – has competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “The war was hard," says Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee living in Germany. later, competed at the Rio Olympics. “She is a very positive person with tremendous energy and will.” With Hollywood clamouring, Heinkelein negotiated the deal to bring Yusra’s story to the screen. Yusra Mardini was among 10 athletes named on Friday by the International Olympic Committee for a refugee team at the games. She was natural, funny and heartfelt, and she had an incredible story. “You feel as if you’re not human,” Yusra recalls. Two swimmers were selected for the team, one male and one female; Rami Anis, originally from Syria but now training in Belgium and Yusra Mardini also originally from Syria but now living in Germany. Yusra Mardini, ever heard of this name? “Then I realised that it was an opportunity that would not come to a lot of people.” Yusra didn’t expect to win a medal, and she was knocked out in the second round. “It’s higher than I ever saw for someone who had left swimming.”. “I am Syrian in my heart, in my mind, in my soul, but I am living in Germany now, so I respect that. One of Yusra’s earliest memories is of her father making them watch Michael Phelps win the 100m butterfly at the 2004 Olympics. She was rated as one of The 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016 by TIME Magazine. Yusra Mardini is not a household name, but she was one of 10 athletes on Team Refugee in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. Her dream of participating in the Olympic Games came true with the Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio 2016 Games. In 2017, Mardini was appointed the youngest-ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. This is her incredible story. But I’m not going to take that as an answer, so I am putting everything I can into this until the next Olympics.". “We think about our futures. When Yusra was just four, Ezzat threw her into the pool. She has met the Pope and Barack Obama. She was part of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. Although Yusra’s dream had always been to compete at the Olympics, she was torn. On 27 April 2017, Mardini was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Reviews A talented swimmer with Olympic dreams, Yusra Mardini trains daily, despite unrest in her native Syria. “One day,” she says. But life was not as simple as swim practice for young Yusra. Maybe our story was hard, but there were people who had lost their families and this was the only way they had.”. In 2015, Yusra Mardini almost drowned in the Mediterranean while fleeing the civil war in Syria. Less than a year earlier, the 18-year-old had fled her home in Damascus to escape the Syrian conflict. One man jumped into the sea, so the boat would sit higher in the water. I was feeling sorry about how many people had been forced to do that. Yusra was onl Yusra found it difficult at first, but the club gave the sisters a community and German friends. Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini will compete at the Rio Olympics. She was a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team (ROT), that competed under the Olympic flag at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But in 2011, a … In the summer of 2015, Mardini’s life changed forever when she and her sister Sarah decided to flee the civil war in Syria, enduring a difficult and turbulent path to safety. Whichever flag, I know that I will be representing millions of people around the world.”, Save up to 39% + chance to WIN*-*Conditions apply, In 2015, Yusra Mardini almost drowned in the Mediterranean, while fleeing the civil war in Syria. When Yusra was just four, Ezzat threw her into the pool. “One story must speak for many.”. Everything in her life has happened pretty unexplainably, quickly and shockingly, – yet she’s always got through it. “The restaurants on Lesbos would not give us anything, food or water,” says Yusra. coach at a sports complex near their home in Damascus. In 2016, Yusra’s lifelong dream came true — she competed at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, joining fellow refugees under the Olympic flag as part of the Refugee Olympic Team. She has given speeches at the United Nations and to the World Economic Forum in Davos. We are educated, but we just don’t have the chance to continue our normal lives because of war.”, As lofty as her achievements have been since she fled Syria, Yusra’s focus is now back on swimming. 17 year old Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini will swim for the Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016. After contacting a smuggler, Yusra, Sarah, their relatives and some other refugees were driven to a forest on the western Turkish coast. Mardini grew up in Syria. Yusra Mardini, swimming for the Refugee Olympic Team, competes in a women's 100m butterfly heat during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics… “Technically, they were really good,” says Sven Spannekrebs, a coach at the centre. Much of their first, freezing Berlin winter was spent queueing, as they and tens of thousands of other refugees fulfilled the arduous German bureaucratic formalities. 17 year old Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini will swim for the Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016. They set off at around 7pm, the dinghy so weighed down that water filled up the bottom with every wave. There would be 20 of them, including an Iraqi woman with a baby and two young children. The noise of gunfire, mortars and bombs was constant. The club let Yusra and Sarah try out. She knows that she must get her times much lower to have a chance of competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. “But Yusra’s aerobic level was very bad and she had lost her feeling for the water.” The club let the sisters train and offered them accommodation, so they were able to move out of the camp. Ysura is a young refugee from Syria who goes on to become an Olympic swimmer. As Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Mardini advocates for the more than 65 million refugees around the world, promotes understanding of their stories and determination and helps prove that every refugee is a human being first. Yusra Mardini was part of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team that competed under the Olympic flag at the Rio Olympics. In August 2012, fighting broke out in Daraya as the government tried to wrest control of the suburb. Yusra, six at the time, recalls that as the moment she decided that she too wanted to be an Olympic champion. Butterfly, Mardini’s autobiography that tells her inspiring young-life story, was published in May 2018. Yusra’s father, Ezzat, worked as a swimming. When Yusra and Sarah discovered that one of their father’s cousins was planning to make the trip to Germany, they were finally able to persuade their reluctant parents to let them go with him. There were five women at the 2016 Rio Olympics waiting to ace the 100 meters butterfly but there was one who was special. An assistant coach, Khamis Agear, is also from Syria. “You feel like you have no country, you’re no-one.” Eventually they arrived in Austria and trains were provided to take them to Berlin. Born in Damascus, Syria, in 1998, Mardini learned to swim with her father at age four, and by 2012, she had participated in the World Championships in Istanbul. Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini has dreamt of the Olympics since she was a child. The IOC hopes to narrow it down and launch a team of between five and ten athletes for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Olympic refugee team member Yusra Mardini prepares to swim laps Thursday at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium ahead of the Rio Olympics. They used their mobile phones to call the Greek and Turkish coast- guards, but neither would come to save them. Yusra’s father, Ezzat, worked as a swimming coach at a sports complex near their home in Damascus. She became the youngest Goodwill Ambassador to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in April 2017 as a champion of refugees all over the world. But Yusra Mardini, Olympic swimmer, knows to expect the unexpected. “But I was thinking about the children on the boat more than me. 18 -year-old Yusra Mardini left Syria for Europe on a boat packed with refugees. Yusra Mardini is a Syrian refugee swimmer who … In the two and a half years since she arrived in Europe, Yusra – pronounced “eesra” – has competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Seven months after fleeing the Syrian capital of Damascus, Syrian refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini is hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and join the Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA). She has met the Pope and Barack Obama. “The secret of Yusra’s success is that she is 100 per cent authentic,” believes Marc Heinkelein, her manager. Since then, Yusra has addressed the United Nations General Assembly and met world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. Yusra grew up in Syria, and she and her sister trained daily to earn spot on the Syrian National swim team. Heinkelein also set up a lucrative contract for Yusra to be an ambassador for clothing brand Under Armour. Almost every morning, a Syrian girl with a winning smile takes a deep breath and dives into the Olympic swimming. Yusra Mardini is an Olympic swimmer and was a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. One of the most inspiring athletes of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil was Yusra Mardini. “I thought it would be a real shame if I drowned,” Yusra said with typical nonchalance after her story became known, “because I am a swimmer.”. She swam for this country in many swimming competitions. You may have seen Yusra Mardini at the 2016 Rio Olympics. People started to pray. B. Yusra Mardini escaped war in Syria and helped others on her way to becoming an inspiring Olympic athlete. She became the youngest Goodwill Ambassador to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in April 2017 as a champion of refugees all over the world. One of Yusra’s earliest memories is of her father making them watch Michael Phelps win the 100m butterfly at the 2004 Olympics. “If I am going to, Growing up, life in Syria was good for a family like the Mardinis. Out of Syria’s prewar population of around 21 million, 5.5 million people are now refugees; more than 12 million have been internally displaced. Yusra Mardini might currently be training twice a day, every day, for two hours, in the run up to the Tokyo Olympics, but she didn't always like swimming. The civil war began in March 2011, when the Syrian authorities arrested and tortured teenage school boys they believed had scrawled anti- government graffti on a wall. I bet most of you haven’t. Over the following days, sometimes walking, sometimes taking buses provided by smugglers for hundreds of euros, they travelled through Macedonia and Serbia to Budapest. “We offered them $500, just for water or juice, but they said they were not allowed to sell to us.”. Anis was 25 years old at the time of the Rio Olympics. Growing up, life in Syria was good for a family like the Mardinis. After four weeks I said to her, ‘Our goal must be the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,’ ” he told UNHCR. At 18-years-old, Mardini competed in the 200-metre freestyle swimming event. “Sometimes I had to stay under the table or sleep in a bed with my family because we could hear shooting and tanks.”. This story is inspiring, will bring you to tears, and will open your eyes to many of the issues … Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee who once swam to save her life while fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea, won the opening heat of the women’s 100-meter butterfly swimming competition at … When the motor on their dangerously overcrowded boat stalled off the coast of Turkey, Yusra and her older sister, Sarah, swam for more than three hours in the churning seas, pushing the boat towards the Greek islands. From Syria to Rio: refugee Yusra Mardini targets Olympic swimming spot The 18-year-old is hoping to make the IOC’s Refugee Olympic Athletes team only … She was part of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. Sarah and Yusra, among the only ones who could swim, also jumped in. (CNN) It took Yusra Mardini a long time to come around to the notion of being a refugee. When they caught a train to the Hungarian border, they were thrown off by the police. Chosen because of their ability to effect change and their wide range of sometimes differing opinions, the speakers will lead lively debates and seek to challenge received wisdom to inspire new ways of thinking. Spannekrebs was amazed at how quickly Yusra improved, despite having had her training disrupted by war. The migration crisis of 2015 was horrifying and deadly. “I want to be at the Olympics no matter what the flag is,” Yusra says. During their journey toward Greece, the motor on their boat failed. Hundreds of refugees were waiting in the sweltering heat, corralled by gangs of armed smugglers. Yusra and Sarah queued for two days for a temporary residence permit, which allowed them to buy a ticket on a ferry to the mainland. At conferences such as Davos, she speaks without notes. The initial plan was for Yusra to aim for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but word began to seep out that the International Olympic Committee were thinking about having a refugee team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The refugees each had to pay $1500 for the 10-kilometre journey to the Greek island of Lesbos. LA 2028; Milano Cortina 2026 . She survived thanks to her swimming skills – and, just a year. She might be able to swim for Syria, but that is fraught with political complications. Families were torn apart; people disappeared. Yusra Mardini: Refugee Hero and Olympic Swimmer, by Kelly Spence, focuses on Yusra’s journey and her story of survival before she joined the team. He was tough and both Yusra and Sarah were soon training three times a week and competing. It’s not clear which country Yusra might represent at the Tokyo Olympics – she does not yet have German nationality and it will be dfficult for her to get into the very competitive German team. Mardini, who fled her native Syria in 2015, is one of 10 athletes competing under the Olympic flag as part of the “Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes” in Rio de Janeiro. If four years ago Refugee Olympic Team swimmer Yusra Mardini was a wide-eyed first-time Olympian at Rio 2016, the Syrian native, now 22, is a self-assured international athlete, best-selling author, United Nations ambassador and so much more. “But I was thinking about the children on the boat more than me. Tokyo 2020 . She’s been appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Now a refugee in Germany, she hopes to make her dream come true. She has written a memoir, , and a feature film about her, directed by Stephen Daldry, the Oscar-winning director of, As lofty as her achievements have been since she fled Syria, Yusra’s focus is now back on swimming. D. Yusra Mardini trained for the Olympics by … At 18-years-old, Mardini competed in the 200-metre freestyle swimming event. And at present, there is no indication that the IOC will repeat the experiment of allowing a refugee team at the next Olympics. The rest of their 25-day journey through Europe, along a trail being taken by hundreds of thousands of other refugees that summer, was humiliating. Now Hollywood wants to tell her story. She also still has her eye on Tokyo 2020 in 12 months’ time. "For a whole day we didn't know what had happened to him." Miraculously, as they lay recovering, the engine spluttered back into life and they moved quickly towards Lesbos. I felt so proud to be representing refugees, representing myself.” She even saw her childhood idol, Michael Phelps, although she didn’t have a chance to meet him. The Pandemic in Refugee Communities Yusra highlighted that many refugees don’t have access to the same medical resources, food or shelter that we do. They helped save not just their own lives but those of 18 other refugees. After three hours, Yusra and Sarah were so overwhelmed with cold and exhaustion, they clambered back onto the boat. She knows, that she must get her times much lower to have a chance of competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In Syria, d eveloping her talent as a swimmer was a challenge. One of the most inspiring athletes of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil was Yusra Mardini. Another day, a rocket-propelled grenade smashed through the roof and landed, unexploded, in the bottom of the pool where Yusra was swimming. Although she has found the attention often overwhelming, Yusra takes it in her stride, especially now that the rest of her family have joined her in Berlin. pool on the outskirts of Berlin. Olympic Games. In 2015, Yusra Mardini almost drowned in the Mediterranean while fleeing the civil war in Syria. “If I am going to be realistic,” says Yusra, who at 5’5’’ is small for a swimmer, “I know it will be really good if I am in the top 20 or 40 in the world. After 15 minutes, the engine stopped and waves threatened to capsize it. But the focus remains on her training, which is at least 30 hours a week. “She’s an amazing woman,” says Daldry. “Her progress has been fascinating,” says Spannekrebs, who has become something of an older brother to Yusra and now supervises her training. (Yusra and Sarah’s trip was financed with family savings.) (CNN) It took Yusra Mardini a long time to come around to the notion of being a refugee. Yusra Mardini es una nadadora olímpica y miembro del primer equipo olímpico de atletas refugiados, que participó en los Juegos Olímpicos de Río 2016. She lives in a at near the Olympic Park with her mother and sister; her father lives nearby. The largest number, 214,266, came from Syria. Mardini grew up in Syria. Syrian professional swimmer who is recognized for having been a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. Yusra Mardini, best known for being a Swimmer, was born in Syria on Thursday, March 5, 1998. Then Yusra's father disappeared. Yusra Mardini, swimming for the Refugee Olympic Team, competes in a women's 100m butterfly heat during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, … She swam for this country in many swimming competitions. After training one night, a mortar slammed into the ground just in front of where she and Sarah were walking. “Yes, we are refugees, but we are normal human beings,” Yusra, 20, tells me she wants people to know. As a youth, Yusra trained as a swimmer with the support of the Syrian Olympic Committee. Mardini and her fellow swimmers’ efforts prevented their small dinghy from capsizing, which saved the lives of the 20 people onboard. Olympic refugee team member Yusra Mardini prepares to swim laps at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium ahead of the Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thurs,, July 28, 2016. Using the unique power of sport to bring people together, the Olympism in Action Forum sees a range of global players, including Olympic Movement stakeholders, athletes, private and public sector leaders, NGO representatives, academics, artists and the media come together to talk on topical contemporary issues. After reaching Europe, Mardini and her sister made their way to Berlin, Germany, where they found their new home and Mardini picked up her swimming training at the swimming club Wasserfreunde Spandau 04. Yusra Mardini fled Syria almost a year ago and is now part of a special refugee team at the the Olympic Games in Rio.. 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