Home | News    Saturday 9 August 2008

Sudanese born athlete bears the US flag in Beijing

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August 8, 2008 (BEIJING) — In a show of strong commitment to Sudan and Darfur particularly, the United States has chosen one of Sudan’s “lost boys”, Lopez Lomong, tonight to be the flag-bearer of the U.S. Olympic team at the opening ceremony in Beijing.

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Lopez Lomong, flag-bearer of the U.S. Olympic team, marches during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium, August 8, 2008. (Reuters)

The southern Sudanese born athlete was selected to be the flag bearer by the captains of the U.S. Olympic teams on Wednesday evening. The decision may have been made in response to the revoking of a visa for U.S. gold-medal winning speedskater Joey Cheek to enter China just a few hours before he was scheduled to travel to Beijing.

Cheek is the president and a co-founder of Team Darfur, an international coalition of athletes committed to raising awareness about and bringing an end to the crisis in Darfur. Lomong is also a member.

“I lived in that life before. That’s why I’m a member of Team Darfur because I was in that situation before and me coming here, I’m here to compete for my country, said the 23 year old runner.

The Chinese government has been criticized for maintaining close diplomatic and trade ties with the Sudan, despite the huge human rights violations and war crimes committed in Darfur. Many Western nations, including the U.S., have tried to get China to put pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the killing, but those efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

A Sudanese medical doctor, a resident of Philadelphia, hailed Lomong’s solidarity with Darfur saying “when he stands up for the people of Darfur he is standing up for his former enemies who were used by Khartoum government to fight his people in southern Sudan.

“Darfurians were used by the Government of Sudan against Southern Sudanese, but the forgiving attitude of Southerners like Lopez Lomong is blurring the lines of division between Sudanese Muslims in the North, and the largely non-Muslim population in Southern Sudan.” said Dr. Abdelgabar Adam.

However, despite the symbolism incarnated in his selection to bear the US flag and lead the US team during the opening ceremony, Lomong remained modest and stated from Beijing he hopes to inspire other kids as he had been inspired by American runner Michael Johnson at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"I hope I am here to inspire other kids that are watching other Olympics as I did in watching the Sydney Olympics," he said.

The U.S. team, second-largest after China’s with nearly 600 members, was welcomed loudly, with many in the crowd recognizing Bryant and other basketball stars who brought up the rear.

Bush rose from his VIP seat to wave at the athletes, nattily dressed in white trousers, blue blazers, red-white-and-blue-striped ties and white caps. He shacked greeted the American athletes and the first of them was Lopez Lomong.

(ST)

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  • 9 August 2008 05:21, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

    Congratulation Lomong, this is the spirit of Southerner born to struggle not to be taught by someone, I hope you will lead the dreams of USA into reality in fact USA is a real country for Equalities compared to Australia were Sudanese were always been presented on media just like terrorists and been treated like selves,we have the spirit but just because we have no opportunities of presenting it to the World due this cruel policy of Sudan. I hope Goss need to implement some materials to encourage Southerners in sports. Lomong Oyee ,SPLA oye,Southern Sudan oye ,USA oye

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    • 11 August 2008 15:09, by Majur Manyang

      Bravo Logic Boy.
      Am extremely happy of your comment for our athlet Lomong.SPLA OYEE IS OUR MOTTO.please continue putting Junub and SPLA/M first.thank only advice

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  • 9 August 2008 05:34, by Yaak Barach

    Congratulations to brother Lomong for being the mighty USA flag’s bearer in such an important global gathering.

    I was filled with joy last night as i watched a South Sudanese leads the American team into the bird nest stadium. I wish Lomong all the best and hopes he wins a medal.

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  • 9 August 2008 06:22, by Bhol Aruhey

    Sudanese have talents but they have been deprived of, by abys of wars. If given chances, they can be world’s best.You aren’t of exception Lopez,we’re proud of you. Congrats man and make hay while the sun shine. I hope peace will come to our country and every citizen will contribute to the development of the country with whatever talent her/she has. KEEP IT POPPING LOPEZ.

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  • 9 August 2008 10:17, by Malou Manyiel

    Lopez Lomong, we the Southern Sudanese are proud of you, eventhough we have no body to present South Sudan in the Olympics, you are already there for us.
    This is a symbol and it is an alarm to our GOSS to train young people and participate in sport to present our country Southern Sudan. The world should know that Southern Sudanese are there. Next time we will bear our own flage in global sport.

    Southern Sudan Oyeee.

    By John Malou Manyiel in Khartoum

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  • 9 August 2008 17:24, by Kur

    These were the seeds planted by John Garang to grow and cover the barren land destroyed by savaged regimes sponored by terrorists in Khartoum. Lopez now represents the downtrodden people of Sudan who are denied everything even sports opportunities. He tells those killers in Khartoum that we’re growing stronger and we will never be crashed by evil trying to get rid of Africans in Sudan, and for that matter Darfur like South Sudan will never be crashed but will resist genocide.

    Kur

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  • 9 August 2008 22:53, by Ngong The King

    Congratulations to brother Lomong!! I wish you a good luck. We, the S.Sudanese, are very proud of your hardwork and determination. Please represent us well in all you are doing-all eyes on you!

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  • 10 August 2008 11:53, by Luala

    Congratulation brother Lomong for the fundamental representation you have done over there in Beijing Olympic for us. We are now represented unlike the presentation done by the Khartoum’s Islamic team.
    Anyway, they portray the Sudan in their own way excluding others I think that is why they could not feel any shame in putting on terrorists dresses for international sports.
    Lomong, I was first confused by your names because it is only in eastern equatoria state of southern sudan that I heard of Lomong, Lokang , Lotok, Lokuang name it… anyhow, Darfur is the focus internationally so let it be.

    Thanks
    Luala

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  • 11 August 2008 16:32, by Gatdelha

    Well done brother Lopez Lomong, I don’t think you are a lost boy! but I do believe that you are Southern Sudan native who is now an Amercan national!

    Above all this, I am happy to hear such a great story, I wish you well during the games and you and your fellow Southern Sudanese athleets will return home one day and teach our youth the science of sport!

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  • 11 August 2008 16:35, by Gatdelha

    Well done brother Lopez Lomong, I don’t think you are a lost boy! but I do believe that you are Southern Sudan native who is now an Amercan national!

    Above all this, I am happy to hear such a great story, I wish you well during the games! I hope that you and your fellow Southern Sudanese athletes all over the world will return home to southern Sudan one day, and teach our youth the science of sport you have learnt abroad!

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