|Birth name||Yusra Mardini|
5th March 1998 (age 20)|
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
|Sport||Freestyle swimming, Butterfly stroke|
Yusra Mardini (Arabic: يسرى مارديني) is a swimmer currently living in Berlin, Germany. She was a member of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team (ROT), that competed under the Olympic flag at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. On 27 April 2017, Mardini was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
Growing up in Damascus, Mardini trained in swimming with the support of the Syrian Olympic Committee. In 2012, she represented Syria in the 2012 FINA World Swimming Championships (25 m) 200 metre individual medley, 200 metre freestyle and 400 metre freestyle events.
Mardini's house was destroyed in the Syrian Civil War. Mardini and her sister Sarah decided to flee Syria in August 2015. They reached Lebanon, and then Turkey, where they arranged to be smuggled into Greece by boat with 18 other migrants, though the boat was meant to be used by no more than 6 or 7 people. After the motor stopped working and the dinghy began to take on water in the Aegean Sea, Mardini, her sister, and two other people who were able to swim got into the water and pushed the boat for over 3 hours until it reached Lesbos. They then traveled through Europe to Germany, where they settled in Berlin in September 2015. Her parents also fled Syria and live in Germany. On 27 April 2017, Mardini was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
On arrival in Germany, Mardini continued her training with her coach Sven Spannenkrebs from Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 in Berlin, in hopes of qualifying for the Olympics. She attempted to qualify in the 200 metres freestyle swimming event. In June 2016, Mardini was one of ten athletes selected for the ROT. Mardini competed in the 100 metres freestyle and the 100 metres butterfly at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. At the Rio Olympics, Mardini won a 100m butterfly heat against four other swimmers, with a time of 1:09.21 and a rank of 41st among 45 entrants.
Yusra Mardini's story is told in the short story collection Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo. The story is illustrated by JM Cooper, and when the story was released as a podcast episode it was narrated by American journalist and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. At the 26th of April 2018 the autobiography "Butterfly" by Yusra Mardini will be published, media announced. It is planned, that director Stephen Daldry will make a movie about her life.
- Fahey, Ciaran (18 March 2016). "Swimmer Yusra Mardini competed at Rio Games for refugee squad in hopes of inspiring other Syrians. On 6 August 2016, Yusra won her heat Summer Olympics in the 100 meter butterfly". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Yusra Mardini appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador". UNHCR. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
- Philip Oltermann. "From Syria to Rio: refugee Yusra Mardini targets Olympic swimming spot". the Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "The inspirational Olympic journey of refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini". Olympic.org. Olympic Games. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Olympics hopeful Syrian refugee swims for three hours pushing boat of migrants". Stuff. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "After Surviving Aegean Sea, Syrian Swimmer Hopes For Spot In Olympics". NPR.org. 20 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini gets a chance to go the Olympic Games". SwimSwam. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "IOC selects 10 to form refugee team for Rio".
- Wilder, Charly She Swam to Escape Syria. Now She'll Swim in Rio. New York Times. August 3, 2016
- "Rio 2016". Archived from the original on 7 August 2016.
- Refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini just won her heat at the Olympics, quartz.com, retrieved 7 August (CET)
- Yusra Mardini delights with butterfly heat win for Refugee Olympic Team, The Guardian, retrieved 6 August 2016
- "Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA) created by the IOC". IOC. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - JM Cooper". 27 March 2018.
- Girls, Good Night Stories for Rebel. "Yusra Mardini read by Diana Nyad – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Podcast". Podtail. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
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