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Lomong to Carry Torch for U.S.

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by AbeBeta, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/news/story?id=3521480

    DALIAN, China -- Eight years ago, Lopez Lomong didn't even have a country. Now he'll be carrying the flag for his adopted nation, leading the U.S. Olympic team at opening ceremonies Friday night.

    Lomong, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, won a vote of team captains Wednesday to earn the honor of leading America's contingent into the 90,000-seat Bird's Nest Stadium.

    The 1,500-meter track runner will be the flagbearer only 13 months after becoming a U.S. citizen.

    'I came all the way here, so I have to run' "It's more than a dream," Lomong said in an interview with The Associated Press moments after he got the news. "I keep saying, I'm not sure if this is true or not true. I'm making the team and now I'm the first guy coming to the stadium and the whole world will be watching me carry the flag. There are no words to describe it."

    He was born in Sudan, separated from his parents at the point of a gun at age 6, and with the help of friends, he escaped confinement and made it to a refugee camp in Kenya. In 2001, he was brought to America as part of a program to relocate lost children from war-torn Sudan.

    Earlier this week, Lomong, 23, said he was mounting a campaign to be nominated by the track and field team for the flagbearer's position. He said the honor would be memorable, but he also was thrilled to be part of the democratic process that might get him there.

    "In America, everyone has a chance to do all these things," Lomong said. "You follow the rules, people will choose, and if I'm blessed to get that opportunity, I'll get it."

    In 2004, Dawn Staley did the flagbearer's honors. In 2000, they went to kayaker Cliff Meidl, who survived a 30,000-volt jolt of electricity in a construction accident and became an Olympian.

    Lomong's story is every bit as inspiring.


    Lopez Lomong came to America in 2001 as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Seven years later, he'll carry the Stars and Stripes into the Olympics opening ceremony.

    He knew nothing of the Olympics in 2000, when his friends at the refugee camp in Kenya talked him into running five miles and paying five shillings to watch Michael Johnson on a black-and-white TV set with a fuzzy screen.

    At that point, Lomong knew he wanted to be an Olympic runner. He earned his spot at the Olympic trials on July 6, exactly one year after he gained his U.S. citizenship.

    All three Americans in the 1,500 are naturalized citizens -- Lomong, Bernard Lagat (Kenya) and Leo Manzano (Mexico).

    "I feel great," Lomong said Wednesday night. "I feel happy, honored. I'm feeling so blessed to get an opportunity to present the United States of America, to present the United States flag in front of my team."
  2. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    The name Lomong sounds suspicious to me. I think we need to waterboard this guy to get some answers. I don't want this muslim commie carrying the torch for the US because that would be unpatriotic and appeasement.
  3. yeahyeah

    yeahyeah New Member

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    :laugh2: :laugh2:
  4. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    I saw the RealSports piece on him and it was a very touching....no not the way BP tries to touch everyone.
  5. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    This story doesn't really touch on the political issues here. By choosing Lamong as the torch-bearer, the athletes are protesting both China's support of the Sudanese government (read about that here if you like http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0626/p01s08-woaf.html) and their refusal to allow pro-Sudanese activists into the country (they've denied a number of visa, most prominently to a 2006 olympian).

    This is the first time in my adult life that I am proud of American athletes.
  6. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    I read a blurb earlier today how they denied the visa of a champion Speed Skater because of those reasons.

    Kind of silly, but I guess it's their country they can do what they want.
  7. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    It is an amazing story. It is horrible that there are over 25,000 kids from Sudan in the same situation (being displaced, not being in the olympics). Of course, they have it better than the 100s of thousands of kids that were killed.
  8. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    Sure, but I've heard many of the athletes up in arms about that -- they see fellow Olympians as being part of a family. And you don't mess with the family...

    of course, the bigger issue is the support of a government that pursues genocide.
  9. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    oh, i thought the US jilted him and he still loved us...
  10. yeahyeah

    yeahyeah New Member

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    I bet dollars to donuts somebody pulls out a Tibetan flag on the podium. Especially if they dont allow Cheek into China.

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