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Olympic Runner Without An Official Country Will Compete At The Olympics
Marathoner Guor Marial of South Sudan wanted to be an Olympian, except he couldn’t be. Despite running track at Iowa State University, Marial couldn’t compete for the United States due to qualification rules. With Sudan and South Sudan out of the picture as well, he was left without a country. Now, with the help of Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who petitioned the IOC with a letter, he will run under the Olympic flag.
“Despite having no passport and officially no country — and at one time very little hope — the 28-year-old marathoner was cleared by the IOC to compete at the London Games under the Olympic flag.
The voice of South Sudan has been heard,” Marial told The Associated Press from his home in Flagtaff, Ariz. “The South Sudan has finally got a spot in the world community. Even though I will not carry their flag in this Olympic Games, the country itself is there.”
Marial’s story is an amazing one – at the age of eight, he was forced into a Sudanese labor camp by gunmen. He managed to escape, running away to Egypt and finally ending up United States. It turns out that Marial was actually pretty good at running, as he’s clocked times of two hours, 14 minutes and two hours, 12 minutes in the 26.2 mile marathon.
We’re glad that the IOC was able to look past the logistical details and let this man run – because, if anything, the Olympics is supposed to be about worldwide cooperation.
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