Just Two More Days

August 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Life, Racing, Running News | 1 Comment

The 2008 Olympics will officially be upon us on Friday, and Lopez Lomong will represent the U.S. by carrying our flag in the opening ceremonies. Lomong’s story is touching: he is a Sudanese refugee (kidnapped at age 6) who now runs track for Northern Arizona University and just became a U.S. citizen. He is running the 1500m in the Olympics and came in 3rd at the Olympic Trials.

How did he get to the United States? He was adopted by a family in the Greater Syracuse area. He then ran Section III cross-country at the same time as yours truly.

I just looked up our Sectional Championship meet in the archives of the awesome Tully Runners website. In my senior cross-country season of 2001, I came in 20th in the Girl’s Class B race and Lomong came in 2nd in the Boy’s Class C race. It’s fun to look up old results.

But second? Yes, Lomong, not being a native Upstate New Yorker was at a clear disadvantage. Upstate NY does not breed average runners, it breeds people like these Olympic Trials qualifiers (scroll down to Nicole Blood in the 1500m and Molly Huddle in the 5000m). Molly Huddle broke most of our state records during my senior year and is actually in The Runner’s Cookbook. Remind me to make her Eggplant Parmesan when I’m done with all the Olympic competitor’s recipes. I don’t know if Blood cooks, but she made us all cry tears of shame by beating us as an 8th-grader. I would rather race a Kenyan than anyone from Saratoga Springs.

Anyway, funny story about how Lomong came to run for Tully high school (besides the refugee part, which is not funny at all):

So Lomong tells his foster parents that he wants to go for a run. His foster parents, probably knowing every single person in that tiny town, call up the Tully cross-country coach and ask for a safe running route.

Coach (bored tone): Well, how far does he want to run?

Foster parents: He says about 20 kilometers.

Coach (decidedly unbored tone): …I’ll come show him where to run. 

I’m looking forward to watching Lomong carry the flag and run the 1500. I’ll be cheering!


1 Comment »

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  1. Cool! I didn’t know Lomong lived in your neck of the woods! That’s great that he was chosen to represent the U.S. during the opening ceremonies. Now you know of two people chosen for such an honor!

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