All eyes on Yusra

First day at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Obviously there’s quite a lot going on, and I can certainly not write about anything, as much as I would like to do that, actually…

But today, of course, I had to follow an athlete whose incredible story I already told you a while ago (Olympic Newsweek II – Light in the darkness). Yusra Mardini (ROT) had her first event today, competing in the 100m butterfly heats. It’s fair to say that all eyes were on her. German media, and not only them, published so many reports, interviews, specials about this 18 year old girl. She tried her best to focus on preparing for her event, but she was obviously aware of all the buzz around her. It is an extraordinary role she’s in. She is seen by many as more than just an Olympic athlete. She’s regarded as a symbol, as representing, together with her team-mates, millions of refugees worldwide. And that is much weight on her shoulders…

Mardini was placed in the first heat, together with four other competitors. And she won her heat with a time of 1:09.21. While that time was roughly one second slower than her personal best, and she wasn’t completely happy with her effort, winning an Olympic heat is something she can be really proud of. And to see that camera shot with her in the frame and below her the lines “Yusra Mardini (ROT) – 1st” was a very special moment on this first day.

By the way, there is still more to come for Yusra Mardini, as she will compete in the 100m freestyle on Wednesday.


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