“I want refugees to be proud of me. I want to encourage them” ―Yusra Mardini
⭕ Meet Yusra Mardini. She is a Syrian refugee. Her story will leave you floored. Last summer, Yusra pushed a disabled tiny boat overloaded with refugees through the freezing waters off the coast of Turkey. When the boat’s motor stopped, Yusra and her sister, realising that they were the only people on board who could swim, jumped into the water.
⭕ There was no time to be afraid. “I will die anyway,” Mardini remembers telling herself. “I had to try.” To make a long and incredible story short, Yusra saved the boat and the people on board. It took three hours to push the boat to Lesbos, the Greek Island.
⭕ Yusra and her sister continued from Greece to Macedonia, then through Serbia, Hungary, Austria and finally into Germany. The journey took 25 days. It’s a miracle that Yusra is now going to swim in the Rio Olympics for Team Refugees Olympic Athletes, or ROA, and will compete under the Olympic flag and anthem. While any other 18-year-old’s biggest achievements may be confined to the A-level results they leave school with, and being busy catching Pokémon Go right now, Mardini is almost incomprehensible.
⭕ Almost every athlete at the 2016 Olympic Games will have an interesting backstory, but Yusra Mardini is more extraordinary than most. She may or may not win a medal at the Olympics, but she has already won in life. She is a hero. Her story inspires me to keep going, to stay strong, and most of all, to always keep the faith.
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