Yusra Mardini was one of the 10 athletes who formed part of the first IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016.

The Syria-born, Germany-based swimmer was thrust into the global spotlight after winning her 100m butterfly heat. Although her time was not fast enough to qualify for the semi-finals, it catapulted her into the world's consciousness.

As an IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder, Mardini is aiming for a second chance at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021.

Since Rio, Mardini has also competed in the 2017 and 2019 FINA World Championships, and earlier this year in April set a new 100m freestyle personal best of 1:00.88 at the German national trials.

Before the Syrian civil war spread across the country, Mardini was a promising young swimmer who aged 14 represented her country at the FINA World Championships (25m) in 2012.

However, she made the decision to escape her home country in 2015, first fleeing to Turkey before boarding a boat bound for Greece. On the way, the boat broke down, with Mardini and her sister pushing the broken boat in the open water. Eventually, Mardini and her sister made it to Berlin, where they rebuilt their life as refugees and Mardini resumed training at a local pool.

On marching into the Opening Ceremony at Rio 2016, Mardini said: "The whole stadium stood up. It was incredible.

I would not trade this moment for anything in my life, to be honest."
By Yusra

Mardini was appointed the youngest ever UN High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador in April 2017.

"I always tell people that [refugees] are normal; we are normal.

"We do not come from a country that is poor. That's not true."

Now training with the German national team in Hamburg, look for this inspirational woman to continue making an impact.

Perhaps as part of the second IOC Refugee Olympic Team in Tokyo.


Yusra Mardini is one of the athletes featuring the IOC campaign #StrongerTogether. Watch her inspirational film: