NEWS published on 05 Aug 2016

Czech Radio and BBC join forces on Syrian Olympic swimmer documentary

Czech Radio and BBC join forces on Syrian Olympic swimmer documentary
Yusra Mardini interviewed on German TV

EBU Members Czech Radio and the BBC have collaborated for the first time to tell the story of a Syrian swimmer who has made the journey from Damascus to the Olympic Games in Rio.

The exclusive documentary series focusses on the life of Yusra Mardini, an 18-year-old Syrian swimmer and one of 10 members of a refugees’ team competing in Rio.

“Yusra Swims for Her Life", presents a moving story of how a young girl fled from war and, after an arduous journey, arrived in Germany. During the sea journey, Yusra and her sister helped to save several lives when they managed to drag a sinking boat to the shore. Later, in Germany, she became a sports team member, and her dream came true after she was selected as one of the 10 athletes who will form a refugee Olympic team.

“Yusra Mardini is now in the centre of attention of the world’s media. Shortly before the Olympics, she received about two hundred requests for an interview from around the world. However, it is Czech Radio who has almost worldwide exclusivity for her story. This is thanks to the Radiožurnál reporter Magdalena Sodomková and her friend, the French photographer Lam Duc Hien,” who recorded Yusra’s journey through the Aegean Sea to Europe,” said René Zavoral, the Director General of Czech Radio.

 “There is a huge interest in the topic of migration as one of the major issues and problems the world is facing today. Then there is the massive interest in the Olympics – many listeners are interested in sports. The last Olympics were held in London, and so many people are looking forward to the Rio Olympics. Yusra’s story uniquely links both these things. I think that what our partners at Czech Radio offered us is a unique approach to her story, witnessed by you before anyone else, a story that presents a global challenge, in a way,” said John Goudie, the Documentaries Unit editor at BBC Radio.

The series will premiere on Czech Radio – Radiožurnál, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. More episodes are planned for early September 2016 and Spring 2017. A unique website also features Yusra’s story the way it was experienced and recorded by Magdalena Sodomková. Vistors can join her on the journey, go through the whole route and find out all the facts. 

Contact detail

Dave Goodman
Digital and Communications Manager - Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision Song Contest

+41 79 634 9097