Ok, I’ll admit I’m not the biggest cheerleader for the Olympics. Various reasons but there is always one story I look forward to hearing. The teams selection of our flag bearer. I almost always tear up when reading about who is selected. This year, is no exception, and I think it couldn’t be more brilliant and a little in your face to the Peoples Republic. Which you know I’m all about!
Another stunning chapter was added to the incredible story of Lopez Lomong when his U.S. Olympic teammates chose the Sudanese refugee as the flag bearer in Friday’s opening ceremony at the 2008 Olympics.
Lomong, who made the Olympic track team by finishing second in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. track trials, spent a decade in a refugee camp in Kenya as one of the “Lost Boys of the Sudan.” He resettled in the United States as a teenager with a family in Syracuse, N.Y.
“This is the most exciting day ever in my life,” Lomong said. “It’s a great honor for me that my teammates chose to vote for me. I’m here as an ambassador of my country, and I will do everything I can to represent my country well.”
Lomong, 23, was 6 when he was abducted from a Sudanese church by militiamen trying to turn children into boy soldiers. He and three other boys escaped and walked several days until they were arrested by Kenyan police because they had unknowingly crossed the border into Kenya.
Come on, if this doesn’t bring at least one tear, something is wrong with you!
So amid the overly commercial “amateur” sporting event, this is in my opinion the teams finest hour. Not only is his story compelling and fabulous he’s also a member of Team Darfur “Now I’m using running to get the word out about how horrible things were back in Sudan during the war. Sometimes these things are not on CNN, so if I put out the word, I hope people can get the information. Right now, similar terrible things are going on in Darfur; people are running out of Darfur, and I put myself in their shoes.”
In years past, we’ve other totally cool flag bearers like in 1960 Rafer L. Johnson , in 1952 Norman C. Armitage (Fencing)and in 1908 the man who would not dip the flag at the royal box in London, Ralph Rose .
Now if only our intrepid reporter friend IRE would send us a missive or two about all his goings on, this story would be complete.
So no happy hour for me, rather I will be firmly planted on my arse Friday night watching the opening ceremony, tissues at the ready, awaiting Mr. Lomong and the team that elected him.