A Refugee Who Once Swam For Her Life Is Already The Best Story At The Olympics
Yusra Mardini once swam for her life while fleeing from war-torn Syria, looking for safety.
On Saturday, she was swimming at the Rio Olympics and found triumph.
Everything was amazing. It was the only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics. I had a good feeling in the water. Competing with all these great champions is exciting. I've only been back swimming for two years so we're only now getting back to my levels of before.
For others, the heat might have been just a preliminary race. But for Mardini, it's clear why her win was such a huge moment.
Last year, Mardini and her sister hopped on a boat to cross the Mediterranean Sea so they could seek asylum in Greece, according to The Guardian.
Thirty minutes into the trip, the motor stopped, putting the boat at risk of capsizing. That's when Mardini dove into the water and helped get the boat to reach the Greek shores, literally swimming for her life.
Whether she lands the best time in her heat again remains to be seen, but she already has the best story at the Olympics so far.
Citations: Yusra Mardini delights with butterfly heat win for Refugee Olympic Team (The Guardian), Team Refugee athlete Yusra Mardini wins her 100m butterfly heat (NBC Olympics), Syrian Refugee Swimmer Yusra Mardini Wins First Heat of 100M Butterfly But Doesn't Qualify for Semifinals at Rio Olympics (ABC News)