I love the Olympic commercials, in particular the Visa Olympic commercials. No matter how many time I see them, I still get chill bumps listening to Morgan Freeman narrate Michael Phelps’ one hundredth of a second gold medal win or Nadia Comenci’s perfect 10 performance. But my favorite one is of Lopez Lomong – a former child solider who escaped Sudan and lived as a refugee for 10 years before coming to America. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here. It’s only 30 seconds.
Lomong was one of 27,000 Lost Boys of Sudan — boys displaced, orphaned, or country-less, during the long and brutal Second Sudanese Civil War. He was also one of nearly 4,000 Sudanese who were granted the opportunity to resettle in the United States through a UN-U.S. partnership initiative. The United States has the biggest resettlement program, capable of resettling up to 76,000 refugees a year. In 2007, Lomong became a U.S. citizen and made it to the Beijing Olympics the following year in the 1500 meter track event.
Yesterday Lomong qualified to run in the 5,000 meter final on August 11 with a time of 13:26:16. During his first race at the 5,000 meter distance, he set a 2012 world best time of 13:11:63. He also specializes in the 1500 meter and was on the 2008 Olympic team but failed to make it to the finals. Saturday will be his first Olympic final. Lomong is also a member of Team Darfur, which is an “international association of athletes devoted to raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis related to the War in Darfur.” He says that this Olympics is about sharing his story with others:
“I’m running to tell my story, to tell people where I came from, where I’m going… I’m running for the kids that have been left behind, especially the kids in South Sudan… I want to show them that a refugee kid that came from nothing can get to the podium.”
This is why I love the Olympics. Not only to witness the incredible athletic accomplishments by people but to learn all that they had to overcome to get to that point. It is truly amazing and it continues to inspire me everyday.
Only four more days left of the London Olympics … 😦
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
And on a side note, cuban coffee equals an amazing workout. I had a set of mile repeats this morning and easily managed a 6:40 pace for each repeat. And that was in the Miami heat and humidity. I think I’ll stock up and bring some back to NC 🙂