Her journey from Syria to Germany took her through the perils thousands upon thousands of refugees have faced while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Yet her role in that crossing was not that of a mere passenger aboard a small boat.
As the New York Times reports, the dinghy she was on was about to sink, potentially taking the refugees aboard and their lives down with it.
Yusra Mardini and her sister jumped into the water and pushed the small boat and those aboard to safety.
While that heroic deed was most certainly the highlight of her journey, she also endured other troubles as she traveled through Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, and other central European countries before finally reaching Germany.
Yusra Mardini said she began to learn how to swim when she was 3, and her father continued to train her till she started to compete for her country’s national team. The Syrian Olympic Committee recognized her potential and her determination and began to support her ambitions as well.
Life in Syria took a turn for the worse when war broke out in 2011. Yet despite the horrible conditions, Yusra continued to train. “Sometimes we couldn’t train because of the war,” the Independent quoted her as saying. “And sometimes you would be swimming in pools where the roofs were [blown open] in three or four places.”
Yusra Mardini finally made it to the 2016 Olympics and was selected to join the Olympic Refugee Team with several other refugees from other struggling corners of the world.
(Yusra Mardini during the Women’s 100m Buttefly)
Her story will remain an inspiration to the world. A story of a dream that, through perseverance, struggle, and sacrifice, became a reality.
You can show your support by visiting Yusra Mardini’s official Facebook fan page here.