The Time Magazine has named Olympic Champion Katie Ledecky and Syrian olympic refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini among most influential teenagers of 2016.
The list includes celebrity personalities like Kylie Jenner, musicians like Zara Larsson, actors like Jaden Smith and young business leaders like Ben Pasternak and George Matus (Co-Founder Verbatim) and athletes like the 2016 olympic champions Laurie Hernandez and Simone Biles (gymnastics, USA) and Katie Ledecky who won four gold and one silver medal in Rio. Among the additional names on this year’s roster are Sasha and Malia Obama and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who was the victim of an attempted assassination after being an outspoken advocate of education for women in her native country.
And another swimmer is on the list: Syrian Yusara Mardini who was a part of the newly-formed Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio Olympics after being forced to flee her native country. She now lives and trains in Berlin, Germany. She and her sister Sarah fled their home in Damascus, the capital of Syria, last summer and found a new home in Berlin. During the dramatic escape over the Mediterranean, the two girls and another woman pulled and pushed swimming for several hours a boat with other refugees because they were the only ones who can swim – especially a longer distance. Yusra Mardini said about the dramatic hours in the water: “I thought it would be a real shame if I drowned in the sea, because I am a swimmer”.
Mardini competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in the 100 fly, where she finished 30th in the 100 fly in 1:09.21; and the 100 free, where she was 45th in 1:04.66.
The magazine, which releases this list annually, says it considers accolades across numerous fields, global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news.