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Yusra and her elder sister fled the Syrian war and set off on a perilous journey to find safety in Europe. In summer 2015, they travelled through Lebanon to Turkey before departing for Greece in an overcrowded dinghy.


Fifteen minutes into the sea crossing, the boat’s engine failed. As a professional swimmer, Yusra was determined not to let any of her fellow passengers drown. Yusra, her sister and two others jumped into the waves and swam for three and a half hours in open water to stop their dinghy capsizing, saving the lives of 20 people.


A year later, Yusra’s courage, determination and strong swimming skills were recognized by the International Olympic Committee and became a member of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team. Yusra competed at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, helping to represent 65 million displaced people worldwide.


Since then, Yusra has addressed the United Nations General Assembly and met world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. She has been presented with a number of prestigious awards and has been recognized for her work by Time and People magazines.


Yusra now lives in Berlin, Germany and is concentrating on her professional swimming career. She aims to compete at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Yusra is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and works to alter global perceptions of refugees. Her message of hope, determination and courage reminds us that those who flee their countries are capable of achieving great things.




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The most important thing
in my life is swimming.
Then speaking and doing things
to help refugees.


Competing at the Olympics
has been a dream of mine
since I was a young girl!



Global sports and innovation brand Under Armour adds the 19-year old swimmer Yusra Mardini to their roster of international athletes. "We are inspired by her drive and accomplishments, both as a person and as an athlete. The way in which she is dealing with life's challenges, both past and present, shows a tremendous amount of character", said Chris Bate, Managing Director, Europe, Under Armour.

Under Armour recently launched the Unlike Any campaign that pays tribute to women by shining a spotlight on their remarkable talents and stories of WILL, and elevating them to a level beyond comparison. The campaign features a roster of prolific athletes, including American Ballet  theatre® principal ballerina Misty Copeland, long distance runner and Harlem Run Crew founder Alison Désir, world champion sprinter Natasha Hastings, professional stuntwoman Jessie Graff, Chinese taekwondo champion and actress Zoe Zhang and world champion alpine skier Lindsey Vonn. Yusra Mardini also forms part of this prolific UA team of incredible women.

» Official press release | Under Armour.pdf


The “Will Finds A Way” Movement Highlights the Importance of Training And The Power of WILL


In celebration of the brand’s origin in athlete performance, Under Armour (NYSE:UA, UAA) showcases the importance of hard work, dedication and resilience in its new year-long global training campaign. As the foremost experts in helping athletes unlock their best, Under Armour recognizes dedicated training and hard work as the essential ingredients towards mastery of any skill. In its "Will Finds A Way" campaign, Under Armour sets out to inspire and ignite the world by taking consumers on a motivational journey spotlighting Dwayne Johnson as he introduces the stories of eight trailblazing athletes: world champion sprinter Natasha Hastings; Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini; NBA point guard Dennis Smith Jr.; actress & taekwondo national champion Zoe Zhang; world champion judoka Teddy Riner; stuntwoman Jessie Graff; triathlete Johnny Agar; and state boxing & gymnastics champion Javon “Wanna” Walton.

» Official press release | Under Armour.pdf

We only live once,
so make it worth it!

I want to change
people’s perceptions.


Yusra is available for a limited number of speaking appearances, on panels and at large events to share her story, inform, motivate and inspire as an advocate for the refugee cause.

In 2017, Yusra gave speeches at several high-level events, from the Google Zeitgeist conference to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where she was the youngest ever speaker.

Please see the MEDIA for more about Yusra’s speaking appearances.


  1. Talk @ Mensch Gottschalk

    June 5th, 2016

    Yusra as talk guest in the TV Show "Mensch Gottschalk" in Berlin

  2. Competing @ Olympic Games

    August 5th, 2016

    Yusra competed for the first ever Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and fulfilled her childhood dream.

  3. Meeting President Obama

    September 20th, 2016

    Yusra met President Obama and delivered a speech at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.

  4. PEOPLE Award

    October 19th, 2016

    The PEOPLE Magazine together with Queen Rania of Jordan awarded Yusra as one of 25 women changing the world.

  5. TIME Award

    November 4th, 2016

    The TIME Magazine awarded Yusra as one of 30 of most influential teens.

  6. Meeting the Pope

    November 10th, 2016

    Yusra met the Pope and delivered the „Millenium-Bambi Prize“ to him.

  7. Bambi Award

    November 17th, 2016

    Yusra received the international Bambi Prize in the category „Silent Hero“.

  8. Speeches @ WEF Davos

    January 17th, 2017

    Yusra attended the World Economic Forum in Davos as the youngest participant ever and delivered 5 speeches and met people like Sheryl Sandberg, Hamdi Ulukaya, will.i.am, Michael Johnson, Muhammad Yunus, etc.

  9. Laureus Award

    February 14th, 2017

    Yusra received the Laureus Award in the category „Sporting Inspiration“ with the Refugee Olympic Team.

  10. Righteous among the Nations Award

    March 5th, 2017

    Yusra was awarded as Righteous among the Nations (Senza Confini Assiciation / Italy).

  11. Appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

    April 27th, 2017

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, appointment Yusra as youngest Goodwill Ambassador.

  12. Competing @ International Swimm Meeting

    April 28th, 2017

    Yusra participated at the 46th International Meeting Swann Oberson in Geneva.

  13. Voices of Courage Award

    May 4th, 2017

    Yusra received the Voices of Courage Award (WRC – Women’s Refugee Commission / New York).

  14. Speech @ Google Zeitgeist

    May 7th, 2017

    Yusra talked at the Google "Zeitgeist" event in London with Zeinab Badawi.

  15. Speech @ Islamic Relief

    May 16th, 2017

    Yusra delivered a speech for Islamic Relief UK at their Welcoming Ramandan Dinner in London.

  16. Talk @ Mensch Gottschalk

    May 28th, 2017

    Yusra returned after one year again to the TV Show "Mensch Gottschalk" in Berlin.

  17. Speech @ Future Masters

    June 11th, 2017

    Yusra participated in the show "Future Masters" with 1000 children/teenagers in the Arena del Sole Theater in Bologna.

  18. Speech @ TINCON

    June 25th, 2017

    Yusra was invited to speak at TINCON, a new festival for digital youth culture, in Berlin.

  19. Competing @ World Championships

    July 21st, 2017

    Yusra participated at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest and competed in the 100m butterfly and the 200m freestyle.

  20. UNHCR Tokyo Mission

    August 26th, 2017

    Yusra went on a mission to Tokyo to raise awareness as UNHCR GWA about the refugee topic as well as to speak as an Olympic Athlete about the next Olympic Games incl. meetings with the Foreign Minister of Japan, the Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Governor of Tokyo, the President of the Executive Board of the Tokyo Organising Committee, the artist MIYAVI, etc.

  21. Appointed Under Armour Testimonial

    October 19th, 2017

    The sports goods manufacturer Under Armour appointed Yusra as new Under Armour Testimonial.