An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar
By Reinhard Kleist
Translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger
Paperback with flaps, 152 pp, $22.95
In 2008, 17-year-old Samia Yusuf Omar stood alongside some of the fastest women in the world on the start line of the Olympic 200m. Four years later, she boarded a refugee boat to Europe, risking her life on the waters of the Mediterranean. An Olympic Dream tells the remarkable story of Omar's attempt to compete at the London Games in 2012. Picturing her life in Mogadishu, a city ravaged by conflict where the female athlete faces discrimination and abuse, Reinhard Kleist reveals the challenges she faced both as a sportsperson and as a woman. In doing so, he shows why Omar, like so many others, would choose to flee. Following Omar's journey through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya to its tragic conclusion, An Olympic Dream is a forceful statement on Europe's response to the refugee crisis. But it is also a moving account of a remarkable life.
Reinhard Kleist was born in 1970 near Cologne. After graduating from the School of Graphic Art and Design in Münster, he moved to Berlin, where he has lived and worked as a freelance comics artist and illustrator ever since. Kleist's books have been translated into many languages and have received several prizes. His graphic novel Johnny Cash: I See A Darkness won both Eisner and Harvey Awards, as well as receiving the Max und Moritz Prize for Best German-language Comic. With The Boxer, Kleist became the first cartoonist to receive the German Youth Literature Award. An Olympic Dream was serialised in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung before being published, with some revisions, as a graphic novel.
"Kleist's treatment of [Samia Yusuf Omar's] quest is heartbreaking and inspirational, putting a human face to Europe's current migration question."— Publishers Weekly
"A story of ambition and drive, and the refusal to accept that poverty, repression, threats and violence cannot be overcome."— UNHCR