With so much buzz around the Olympics in Rio (not all good), it’s easy to get swept up in the hype and hysteria and overlook the freedoms that allow free movement and permission to chase your dreams. All athletes, regardless of an Olympic focus, are chasing a dream. For many women, dreaming is simply is not allowed.

 

I have always had my goal and I wanted to achieve it and so I will put up with all these things until I get where I want to be

Baean Jouma

In countries like Syria where women are not granted a role in everyday society, chasing a dream is not only frowned upon, it could cost you your life. This Olympics, three strong, courageous dream chasers are officially representing that dream and Syria. They are Heba Allejji in table tennis, Ghufran Almohamad in athletics, and Baean Jouma in swimming.

 

Syrian Heba Allejji

Heba Allejji says the most important thing is to show a superb level and to represent her country well.
Photo: ITTF

 

Yusra Mardini

Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini is competing as part of the first ever regugee team.
Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images For IOC

 

For the first time ever, there is a Olympic Refugee team, made up on athletes with no place to call home. Swimmer Yusra Mardini is on that team. Originally from Syria, she fled through Lebanon and Turkey before trying to reach Greece. Her and her sister are responsible for helping to save the lives of 20 people, including their own, after jumping off their sinking dinghy into the Aegean Sea and pushing their boat to land. While all athletes will have a story of how they made it to the games, hers is most extraordinary.

 

 

With not only the odds stacked against them, these women have overcome death threats, physical barriers, lack of funding, lack of trainers and the stigma of dream chasing in the own countries. Now on the International stage, the world celebrates them for their determination and courage. These women show that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, even an Olympic dream. Let’s hope the ripple effect of their courage trickles through TV screens all over the world and inspires young girls to dream big, even in countries where them women are not permitted to have dreams, countries like Syria where these four heros are from.

 

Everything is about trying to get a new and better life and by entering the stadium we are encouraging everyone to pursue their dreams.

-Yusra Mardini

 

Syrian athletes Ghufran Almohamad (L) and Bayan Jumah

Syrian athletes Ghufran Almohamad (L) and Bayan Jumah carry their national flag during the flag raising ceremony at the Olympic village in London on July 25, 2012, two days before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Photo: Saeed Khan

 

Syrian swimmer Baean Jouma

Syrian swimmer Baean Jouma
Photo: Omar Sanadiki for Reuters

 

About the author

Still Stoked (Alexa)

Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream.
I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)

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