Yusra Mardini

Syrian Arab Republic


Yusra and her elder sister fled the Syrian war and set off on a perilous journey to find safety in Europe. In summer 2015, they travelled through Lebanon to Turkey before departing for Greece in an overcrowded dinghy.

Fifteen minutes into the sea crossing, the boat’s engine failed. As a professional swimmer, Yusra was determined not to let any of her fellow passengers drown. Yusra, her sister and two others jumped into the waves and swam for three and a half hours in open water to stop their dinghy capsizing, saving the lives of 20 people.

A year later, Yusra’s courage, determination and strong swimming skills were recognized by the International Olympic Committee and became a member of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. Yusra competed at

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“That´s right. Only a name. A name given to us by circumstances beyond our control. Now we have to reclaim it. [...] "We are still humans", I say. "We are not only refugees. We are like everyone in the world. We can do something, achieve something. We didn´t choose to leave our homelands. We didn´t choose the name refugee. [...]”
Yusra Mardini, Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph

“La natación es la mejor distracción. Cuando estoy en la piscina nada más parece importar.”
Yusra Mardini, Mariposa: De refugiada a nadadora olímpica. Mi historia de superación y esperanza

“Supongo que nadie sabe lo fuerte que puede llegar a ser hasta que le toca lidiar con la tragedia.”
Yusra Mardini, Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph

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