Syrian Swimmer Yusra Mardini to Have Life Story Told in Upcoming Movie

An as-yet-untitled film following the life of 20-year-old Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini has received the green light and could be released as soon as 2019, reports Deadline Hollywood.

The film is being written by British screenwriter Jack Thorne, who is known for the four-part mini-series Kiri, and will be directed by Stephen Daldry, director of Billy Elliot, The Reader, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and the 2019 film version of the Broadway musical Wicked. Mardini will release her first book, a biography titled Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian – My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph on May 15th.

Mardini and her family fled Syria in 2015, traveling first to Lebanon and then to Turkey where they took a small boat intended for the Greek island Lesbos. During the journey the boat’s motor failed, prompting Mardini and her younger sister Sara to get into the sea and swim the boat to safety, a grueling endeavor which took more than three hours.

Mardini, her sister, and her parents eventually reached Germany where she was able to resume training, this time with German coach Sven Spannekrebs. Mardini was later offered an opportunity to compete on the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mardini got the world’s attention when she won the opening heat of the women’s 100 meter butterfly in Rio. Though she did not advance to the semifinals, her story inspired people around the world. Since Rio Mardini has become a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and has traveled the globe, meeting with human rights activists and world leaders including Pope Francis and former US President Barack Obama. Before the Games, Pope Francis wrote a letter of support to all 10 athletes competing under the IOC/Refugee banner.

In addition to the 100 meter butterfly in which Mardini placed 41st in Rio, she also swam the 100 meter freestyle placing 45th. Four years prior to Rio, Mardini represented Syria at the 2012 FINA World Championships (25m) in Instanbul, Turkey, where she contested the 200 and 400 meter freestyles. Though she did not advance beyond the preliminaries, it is evident that Syria had high hopes for Mardini as she was only 14-years-old at the time.

Mardini also recently released her first book, a biography titled Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian, My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph, which is available now on Amazon.

Butterfly has been published in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, Ireland now. 5 lucky people will be able to win 5 of my german books and 5 of the english ones. All you have to do is comment till tmw why should you win a book, and I’ll choose the winners, please make sure you write which language you want the book to be. GOOD LUCK!?

A post shared by Yusra Mardini (@mardiniysra) on

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Just trying to make money of a questionable story. I’m all about attention to people who deserve it but what about the thousands of other refugees? You don’t see them putting themselves so much in the spotlight without ever mentioning the horrible things going on in their countries

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!