The inspirational story behind the film The Swimmers on Netflix, by Syrian refugee and Olympic swimmer, Yusra Mardini.
'An extraordinary tale of bravery, survival, and winsome, never-give-up moxie. It is impossible not to be won over by Yusra.' – Khaled Hosseini
It’s important the world understands what many ordinary people must endure to find a safe place to live. If it will help others, I’ll tell my story a million times.
When war broke out in her native Syria, Yusra Mardini fled to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat's engine cut out, it began to sink. Instinctively, Yusra and her sister took to the treacherous open water and guided the boat for three and a half hours, helped by two other refugees, until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard.
Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
Yusra Mardini is an athlete, one of People magazine’s twenty-five women changing the world, on the list of TIME Magazine's most influential teens, and one of the the youngest UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors. Yusra's and her sister Sara's story is the subject of a major Netflix film documenting her life, written by Jack Thorne. Yusra and Sara were also part of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2023.
Now with an updated afterword.
Yusra, we could not be prouder of you for your courage and your resilience and the great example that you're setting for children everywhere.
President Barack Obama
Yusra has an incredible story.
War, for all its atrocities, is punctuated by instances of unfathomable human spirit and grace. Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini’s story is a prime example. Butterfly recounts this Syrian refugee’s extraordinary tale of bravery, survival, and winsome, never-give-up moxie. It is impossible not to be won over by Yusra.