Syrian swimmers Yusra Mardini and Rami Anis are part of ten refugees that are competing at the Olympics in Rio this year under the Olympic flag. Mardini lives with family in Germany now. It will take her some time, though, to forget the terrifying crossing of the Mediterranean in a cramped boat before trekking across Europe. It took 25 days of grueling travel before the 18 year-old reached Berlin and her father. In an interview with NBC, Mardini spoke to refugees. “Even if you lose someone, even it it’s war, even if you lose your house, you have to continue.”
Rami Anis escaped in 2011 from Syria to Istanbul before arriving in Belgium in 2015. At a press conference, the 25 year-old expressed “a bit of sadness” that he wouldn’t be on the Syrian team but accepted the honor of being there at all. “We are representing people who have lost their human rights and are facing injustices.”
Symbols of Hope
These two young competitors, as well as the rest of the refugee team, were given a standing ovation at the opening ceremony in Rio. They were the last team to walk in before the home team of Brazil. The refugee team is already an inspiration to the 10,000 athletes representing 200 countries and the global viewers enjoying the Olympics. The move of the Olympic committee to form this team was brilliant. It gave a face to the world refugee problem like nothing else could. Mardini and Anis are symbols of hope to Syrian children as well.