I can’t tell you why it happened to me, but I know that I’m Muslim. I have an Arabic name. And even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn’t change how you look and how people perceive you.
Starting Over (and Staying Persistent) with Olympian Yusra Mardini
This post is in celebration of Women’s History Month. Throughout March, we’ll be highlighting the stories of women doing extraordinary things around the world.
“I miss the smell of jasmine. I miss the old buildings and the taste of the Syrian food. I miss every single detail about my country,” says 19-year-old swimmer Yusra Mardini (@mardiniysra). Due to civil war, Yusra and her sister fled Syria when their home in Damascus was destroyed. “Refugees were humans before they were called refugees,” she says of the label. “We want to start a new life where we can create and achieve new things.” Only 11 months after fleeing her country, Yusra qualified for the Refugee Olympic Team and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I wish I could tell all the women around the world that we are strong enough and can do incredible things,” she says. “You should never forget how beautiful and powerful you are.”
“Six months after hosting South America’s first-ever Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Rio de Janeiro venues – some of which have been looted – sit mainly idle and already in disrepair, raising questions about a legacy that organisers promised would benefit the Brazilian city and its residents.
The iconic stadium has fallen into a state of abandonment and has been closed to tourists due to a dispute between the stadium operators, the Rio state government, and Olympic organisers over $1m in unpaid electricity bills and management of the venue.”
The closing ceremony was six months ago Tuesday, and already several of the venues are abandoned and falling apart. The Olympic Park is a ghost town, the lights have been turned off at the Maracana and the athlete village sits empty.
“It’s not a good look for us,” IOC member John Coates told Around the Rings in a story published Tuesday.
And yet it was one that so easily could have been avoided.