“An 18-year-old Syrian refugee who swam for her life will now be competing in the Olympics… after coaches spotted her awe-inspiring talent while she was surviving at length in the ocean.
Yusra Mardini and her sister, Sarah, fled Damascus in August 2015 before traveling to Lebanon and Turkey and attempting to cross the Aegean Sea.
The boat – carrying 20 people instead of the six it was built to carry — started to fill with water only 30 minutes later, at which point Yusra, Sarah, and two men jumped into the icy water and pushed it to the shore in Lesbos, saving everyone’s lives.”
“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”
Featured from Elle