Yusra Mardini, along with two dozen Syrian refugees, almost played with her life when she decided to take that precarious journey from Turkey to Greece. Yusra and her sister, both competitive swimmers, swam through most part of the journey in order to lighten the load off the boat. Now 17-years-old, Yusra lives in Berlin, and is onto something that not many children who have dealt with the kind of stuff she has can resolve to do.
Per a story that appeared in Mashable, “After trekking across Europe and eventually applying for asylum in Germany, she made it her priority to get back in the pool and train in the sport to which she has dedicated more than half of her young life. Now, she is hoping for a spot in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. Mardini is one of 43 athletes in the running for a place on the Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA) team — the first of its kind. For Yusra, the road to the Olympics has become more than just a personal journey to the top of her sport. She knows that becoming part of the first team to walk under a refugee flag at the Olympics would carry huge significance.”
She still hopes that the war in Syria will come to an end, and she will be home soon. For someone who arrived in Germany with nothing on her, not even flip-flops, this kid’s optimism and focus is what legends are made of. “I want to show everybody that it’s hard to arrive at your dreams, but it’s not impossible,” she says. “You can do it; everyone can do it if I can do it, any athlete can do it.”