Rukhsar Habibzai: Chasing a dream as an Afghani Refugee

Credit: Katherine Taylor
Savanna Collins
Jun 30, 2022

Rukhsar Habibzai is an Afghani refugee training for the Olympics with Twenty24, a women’s pro cycling team.

She was forced to leave her country as part of the mass evacuation of vulnerable citizens who faced targeted gender violence by the Taliban. Currently, she rides for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24, a national cycling team preparing for the Paris Olympics 2024.

Habibzai was the captain of her nation’s first women’s cycling team, a group of ground-breaking women cyclists who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for their bravery and example for the rest of the world’s women to fight against gender-targeted violence and oppression.

She is a champion of the women’s right-to-ride revolution and has inspired many girls to take a stand. Besides being a sportswoman, she was in the dentistry program at Cheragh Medical University.

Habibzai’s talk tells her journey of setting her dreams to be a world champion cyclist, the backlash she experienced because of her dream, and how she plans to achieve it despite harrowing challenges.

You can watch Habibzai’s full TEDxBoston talk below:

Get in the Game

Join The Unlimited Club to unlock benefits for every Athletes Unlimited season by downloading the official Athletes Unlimited App.


  • Exclusive Pre-Sale Window
  • Access to the Athletes Unlimited App and Fan Leaderboard
  • Receive Special Member Giveaways
  • Newsletter -- the best way to stay up to date with the latest Athletes Unlimited news
  • Unlimited Pick athlete news & access



Rookie benefits, plus:

  • Founding Member Designation
  • Contribute 10% to the Athlete Bonus Pool
  • Club Vote: Vote on Game MVPs, GEICO Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year & more
  • Early Access to Tickets
  • Exclusive end of season auction with game-used items with 90% of funds going to the Athlete Causes program and 10% going to the Player Bonus Pool



Pro benefits, plus:

  • Virtual Post-Draft Meet and Greets
  • Invitations to virtual events, such as athlete Q&As
  • Access to exclusive NFTs
  • Exclusive videos (Extended Mic’d Ups and more)



MVP benefits, plus:

  • Access to Ticket Concierge
  • On-site Meet & Greets with athletes
  • Preferred Parking**
  • Player-only item (Duffel Bag)
  • **When available