This year’s Olympics has a very special team.

This team has no home, no flag, no national anthem and no country. This amazing team represents the millions of people forced to flee their homes, and the magnitude of the current refugee crisis.

On this refugee team is 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, a beautiful Syrian girl we have written about before. Her story is incredible.


After fleeing Damascus when her home was destroyed in the ongoing conflict, her and her family travelled through Lebanon and on to Turkey, where they decided to risk the dangerous sea crossing to Greece in a rubber dinghy.

It was on this crossing that the unsafe boat began to fill with water and it became clear that they were sinking.

“I thought it would be a real shame if I drowned in the sea, because I am a swimmer,” she now explains, so her and her sister jumped into the water, tied a rope to their wrists and began to pull the boat whilst kicking with their legs.

Incredibly, they swan for three hours, finally bringing the boat to safety on the shore of Lesvos, saving the lives of 20 people.

Yesterday, Yusra won the opening heat of the 100m butterfly at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

Yusra’s story is proof to us all that despite adversity, trauma and pain, there is no end to the strength of the human spirit. She demonstrates to each and every one of us to never give up, to follow your dreams, and that anything is possible.