Lopez Lomong, training for the 1,5000 meters
in China ahead of the Olympics, is a symbol
for so many issues hovering over the Games.
BEIJING – When Lopez Lomong leads the United States team into the opening ceremony Friday night as the flagbearer, he knows he will be a symbol for so many issues hovering over Beijing’s Games, but he hopes he can be something else above all: an inspiration.
Lomong as a child was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, kidnapped from his family at 6 years old by soldiers before escaping to a Kenyan refugee camp. Having made the United States Olympic team in track’s 1,500 meters, Lomong was selected by American athletes to carry the flag for the team, a vote fraught with meaning. Lomong is a member of Team Darfur and wants people to know about the humanitarian crisis in the country of his birth.
But he also wants people to know that his Olympic dream started in 2000, when he walked five miles from a refugee camp in Kenya to watch the Sydney Olympics on a black and white television. He watched Michael Johnson win the gold medal in the 400 meters and it gave him a dream.
“I come here to inspire kids who are out there watching this Olympics, as I did watching the Sydney Olympics,” Lomong said. “All the countries and all the nations are out there watching. I’m very honored to be here and I am very honored to lead the American team into the opening ceremony. (more)
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