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Refugee team swimmer Mardini names Phelps idol, IOC third home

Europe
Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Refugee team swimmer Yusra Mardini has been getting plenty of attention at the Rio Games but will not compare herself with fellow swimming idol Michael Phelps.

Mardini, who fled her war-torn native Syria and now lives and trains in Germany, is considered the face of the 10-strong refugee team in Brazil.

The 18-year-old competed in the 100-metre butterfly on the weekend and is back in the pool Wednesday for the 100m freestyle heats. She names fellow swimmer Michael Phelps an idol but would never compare herself with the most successful Olympian.

"There are a lot of stories about me and a lot of people want to take a picture. This is really good, because it is helping to send our message to the world, and show everyone that refugees can do something.

"But I‘ll never be like Phelps, as big or as famous. I didn‘t achieve a lot until now. If I can achieve something, maybe I can be like him," Mardini said.

And while the number of her Facebook followers soars, Mardini is for now not wasting any thoughts on under which flag she will continue her career after the Rio Games and at Tokyo 2020.

"I‘m not thinking about if I‘ll compete for Syria or Germany now. The IOC has been supporting us refugees. Syria and Germany are both my homes, and now the IOC is my home, too. I have three homes," she said.

"The IOC is supporting us for Tokyo. We‘re going to have to win a medal. We have to."

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