How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

S16, Ep3 How To Fail: Yusra Mardini - how a teenage Syrian refugee became an Olympic swimmer against unimaginable odds

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Episode notes

I can't find the right words to do enough justice to Yusra Mardini's story. I think it's best that you just listen to the episode. Suffice it to say, she's one of the most impressive people I've ever met. Yusra grew up in Damascus. When war broke out, she and her sister embarked on a perilous journey to Germany to seek asylum. En route, they nearly died when the dinghy they were using to cross the Aegean sea had an engine failure. Yusra and her sister Sara - both competitive swimmers - jumped overboard and helped to pull the boat to safety, saving all 18 people on board.
Yusra went on to compete in the 2016 Olympics, to become the youngest ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and to publish a memoir that has now been made into a Netflix movie, The Swimmers.
Listen now to hear Yusra telling her story. It's unbelievably powerful.


The Swimmers is available to watch on Netflix


Choose Love does amazing work for refugees. If you'd like to donate or learn more, please visit their website here.


How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted and produced by Elizabeth Day. To contact us, email [email protected]


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Elizabeth Day @elizabday

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Yusra Mardini @yusramardini