Syrian Teen Who Swam For Her Life Is Competing In The Olympics

​What an incredible and inspirational story

An 18-year-old Syrian refugee who swam for her life will now be competing in the Olympics for Germany, after coaches spotted her awe-inspiring talent, 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 dinghy – 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 for three hours to the shore in Lesbos, saving everyone's lives.  

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Once the sisters reached Berlin, a coach — Sven Spannerkrebs — started to train them both for the Olympics in 2020. 

However, as the Olympic committee created its first ever Refugee Olympic Team for Rio 2016, Yusra now joins a group of other athletes who also qualified to compete at the games this year. 

'I want to tell everyone that I really miss Damascus. I want everyone to think of their dreams, because a lot of people there forget their dreams,' said Yusra at a press conference in Rio. She will be marching under the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony on Friday. 

Read Next: