The fear of living in war-torn country turned into the dream of going to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It happened to Yusra Mardini, a young Syrian girl who represented her country at the short-course World Championships in Turkey in 2012.
Yursa and her sister Sarah fled the conflict in her home country in August 2015. When crossing from Turkey to Greece Yusra's boat failed. The sisters and one other teenager jumped overboard, steered and pushed the boat (with 20 passengers) for three miles until it finally reached safety in Greece. Then they traveled through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria before reaching Germany. There, the two of them were connected with a local swimming club.
Now she lives in Berlin where she is part of a group of 43 hand-picked refugees who have been identified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as potential Olympians to compete at Rio as a part of the first-ever "Refugee Olympic Athletes" team. She hopes to win a spot on the refugee team.
I think first of all I want to do it for all the people; I want to inspire everyone. When you have a problem in your life, it doesn’t mean you have to sit around and cry like babies or something. The problem was the reason I am here, and why I am stronger and want to reach my goals. So I want to inspire everyone that [they] can do what they believe in their hearts.
Cover Photo: From the The International Olympic Committee (IOC) website