Olympics

Yusra Mardini, who fled Syria, part of first Olympic refugee team

Olympic refugee team member Yusra Mardini prepares to swim laps Thursday at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium ahead of the Rio Olympics. Mardini is one of 10 athletes on the first Olympic refugee team, having fled war-torn Syria.
Olympic refugee team member Yusra Mardini prepares to swim laps Thursday at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium ahead of the Rio Olympics. Mardini is one of 10 athletes on the first Olympic refugee team, having fled war-torn Syria. AP

Although she won’t be competing until Monday, swimmer Yusra Mardini’s presence will surely be felt at Friday’s Opening Ceremonies.

Mardini is one of 10 athletes competing under the Olympic flag in Rio de Janeiro as part of the first “Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes.” Mardini and her sister fled their native Syria in August 2015 during the country’s civil war, eventually settling in Berlin.

Mardini, who was one of the first two athletes recognized for consideration for the ROA team, will compete in the women’s 200-meter freestyle preliminaries on Monday afternoon, with hopes of qualifying for the semifinals that night.

The 2016 Olympics marks Mardini’s second international competition. She represented Syria in the 2012 FINA World Swimming Championships, participating in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle races as well as the 200-meter individual medley.

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