Distance Runner Lopez Lomong Selected as Flag Bearer for 2008 U.S. Olympic Team

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced today that track
& field athlete Lopez Lomong (Tully, N.Y.) has been selected as
flag bearer for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team by fellow members of Team
USA. Lomong, 23, was notified of his selection Wednesday night via
phone in Dalian, China, where he is training with the U.S. Olympic
Track & Field Team.

“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. The Opening Ceremony is the
best day and the best moment of Olympic life. I’m here as an ambassador
of my country and I will do everything I can to represent my country

To select the flag bearer, U.S. captains
from each sport met in the Athlete Village Wednesday night, in person
and via conference call for those not yet in Beijing. Any captain was
able to bring forward a nominee from any sport. After the nominations
and a discussion period, the athletes voted, selecting Lomong.

will compete in the 1,500 meters in Beijing in what is his first
international appearance. He finished third at the 2008 U.S. Olympic
Team Trials – Track & Field in Eugene, Ore., with a time of
3:41.00. Lomong attended Northern Arizona University, where he won the
2007 NCAA outdoor 1,500 meter title and the 2007 NCAA indoor 3,000
meter title.

Lomong has overcome an overwhelming
array of obstacles in becoming a top American middle distance runner.
He was born in Sudan, fleeing the country when he was 6 years old and
becoming separated from his family. He was sent to live in a refugee
camp in Kenya for 10 years, and in 2000 he walked five miles to watch
the Sydney Olympic Games on a black-and-white TV. It was then that his
Olympic dream began. Watching U.S. track & field athlete Michael
Johnson run, Lomong remarked that “I’d like to run like that guy.” He
wrote a moving essay in 2001 about what he would strive to accomplish
if he lived in America, and his heartfelt words prompted officials to
give him that chance. He was moved to the United States to live with a
foster family in Tully, N.Y., and became a U.S. citizen in July 2007, a
moment he says has changed his life forever.

American flag means everything in my life – everything that describes
me, coming from another country and going through all of the stages
that I have to become a U.S. citizen,” Lomong said. “This is another
amazing step for me in celebrating being an American. Seeing my fellow
Americans coming behind me (in the Opening Ceremony) and supporting me
will be a great honor – the highest honor. It’s just a happy day. I
don’t even have the words to describe how happy I am.”

Track & Field congratulates Lopez in being selected for this
incredible honor,” said USATF CEO Doug Logan. “Few people better
understand or reflect the American Dream and Olympic ideals than Lopez.
What a great, great day for him and the entire Olympic Team.”

the selection of Lomong as flagbearer, track and field athletes have
carried the flag at the Olympic Games for Team USA in 13 of 22 Opening


Please note, the August 7 9:00 am USOC flag bearer press conference has been RESCHEDULED
due to Lomong’s training location. The press conference has been
rescheduled for August 8 at 10:00 am in Main Press Center press
conference room 4.


Year U.S. Flag Bearer (Sport)1908
Ralph Rose (Athletics)1912 George V. Bonhag (Athletics)1920 Patrick J.
McDonald (Athletics)1924 Patrick J. McDonald (Athletics)1928 Lemuel
(Bud) C. Houser (Athletics)1932 F. Morgan Taylor (Athletics)1936 Alfred
A. Jochim (Gymnastics)1948 Ralph C. Craig (Yachting)1952 Norman C.
Armitage (Fencing)1956 Norman C. Armitage (Fencing) #Warren B. Wofford
(Equestrian)1960 Rafer L. Johnson (Athletics)1964 William Parry O’Brien
(Athletics)1968 Janice Lee Romary (Fencing)1972 Olga Fikotova Connolly
(Athletics)1976 Gary W. Hall (Swimming)1980 USA did not attend1984
Edward Burke (Athletics)1988 Evelyn Ashford (Athletics)1992 Francie
Larrieu Smith (Athletics)1996 Bruce Baumgartner (Wrestling)2000 Cliff
Meidl (Canoe/Kayak)2004 Dawn Staley (Basketball)

2008 Lopez Lomong (Athletics)

# Due to Australia’s immigration laws for horses, the 1956 equestrian events were held separately in Stockholm.

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