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Christian Refugee Overcomes Odds and Aims for Olympic Gold

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Yusra Mardini is a gifted swimmer who has made it all the way to Rio to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. This same athletic gift saved her life almost a year ago.

She ended up winning in the women's 100m butterfly in the Rio 2016 Olympics. 

Mardini, who is a Christian, fled Syria during the height of a civil war in her country. Mardini and her sister made their way to the Greek island of Lesbos by dinghy.

MORE: Olympic Profiles in Faith

During the journey, the boat's motor broke leaving Mardini and 18 other migrants stranded.

Mardini, her sister, and another woman jumped into the water and took turns kicking and pulling the boat for the rest of the three-and-a half hour journey, reports Premier UK, a Christian publication.

Click play to watch Yura Madini tell her story.

Mardini was able to make it all the way to Germany and is now competing with nine other teammates on the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team.

The 18-year-old won her heat in the 100 meter butterfly, but fell short in qualifying for the semi-finals. However, Mardini says she is pleased with her performance.

"It was the only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics. I had a good feeling in the water so I'm happy for that," she said.


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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.