Yusra Mardini, a member of the Refugee Olympic Team, won the opening heat of the women’s 100 fly, touching in 1:09.21, just off her entry time of 1:08.51. She and her sister are the epitome of courage and determination.
Against the odds they were responsible for helping to save the lives of 20 people, including their own, after jumping off their sinking dinghy into the Aegean Sea and pushing their boat to the Greek shores. In March of 2016 IOC President Thomas Bach announced he would choose five to ten refugee athletes to compete at the Olympics due to the worldwide refugee crisis.
Mardini, originally from Syria, is one of ten Refugee team athletes and one of two swimmers. The other swimmer, Rami Anis, is also originally from Syria. He will compete in the men’s 100 fly, and Mardini will also compete in the women’s 100 freestyle.
Each Refugee athlete is being hosted by an NOC (National Olympic Committee). Mardini is being hosted by Germany, while Anis is being hosted by Belgium.
The other Refugee athletes will compete in Athletics (8) and Judo (2).