Swimming star Farida Osman on overcoming mental challenges to chase her fourth Olympics

African record holder opens up about her heartbreaking Tokyo Games and the brutal backlash that followed

In the fourth episode of the Abtal podcast, host Reem Abulleil sits down with Egyptian swimming star Farida Osman.

A three-time World Championship medallist and African record holder, Osman has overcome many challenges in and out of the pool to blaze a trail for Arab swimmers across the region.

Osman exploded onto the scene as a 16-year-old when she became Egypt’s first junior world swimming champion in 2011. She has since become one of the best sprinters in the world, shattered numerous records and participated in three Olympic Games.

Ahead of her fourth appearance at the Games, we speak to Osman about what it’s like being the face of Egyptian swimming for so long. Osman shares her experiences navigating the psychological roller-coaster of being a swimmer, from the highs of victory to the lows of self-doubt and burnout.

Osman also talks about her heartbreaking Tokyo Olympics, the brutal backlash that followed, and how she rebounded from that disappointment to get back in contender form.

This episode was recorded before Osman made more history at the World Championships in Doha last week, reaching a seventh consecutive 50m butterfly final and winning her third career medal at Worlds.

Abtal will take a short break before returning in March with a fresh line-up of inspiring Arab athletes and compelling conversations.

You can listen to the full conversations on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms, or watch the full interviews on The National News YouTube channel.

Updated: February 19, 2024, 4:46 AM