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Lopez Lomong is an athlete competing in track and field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA. He is a contender in the the 5000m.

Lopez Lomong overcame an overwhelming array of obstacles in becoming a 2008 Olympian. After escaping persecution in Sudan and life as a refugee in Kenya, Lomong came to the U.S. as one of "The Lost Boys of Sudan." He was adopted by a family in upstate New York and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. In Beijing, he was elected by his peers to be the U.S. flag-bearer in the Opening Ceremony.

After running the 1500m in Beijing, Lomong qualified for the London Olympic team in the 5000m. He finished third in the event at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 13:24.47 behind Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat.

Before the 2011 season, Lomomg decided to change coaches and joined the highly successful Oregon Track Club. His first season was sprinkled with mixed results. He scored his lone victory of the season at 3000m, running a personal-best 7:50.36 in Liege. His other PR came on the roads, in the New York Dash to the Finish 5-K, where he crossed eighth in 14:04. In his specialty events, the 1500m and mile, Lomong had season bests of 3:33.59 and 3:53.85 respectively.

Lomong won his first career national title when he finished first in the men's 1500m at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships in 3:41.68. Later that summer he finished eighth in the 1500m final at the World Championships in Berlin. In 2010, Lomong successfully defended that title with another victory in the 1500m in 3:32.20 at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines.

Since establishing himself in the United States, Lomong has not turned his back on his Sudanese heritage or his family back in Africa. In 2009, he began raising money for the reconstruction of the church from which he was kidnapped as a youngster. The Reconciliation Church situated just outside of Kimotong will have a 250-seat space for Roman Catholic services, a multipurpose hall for hosting classes and meetings, and an area for a storage and distribution center for relief food programs. He also began to lay the groundwork to bring his younger brothers, Peter and Alex to the United States. Both arrived in 2010 and attend Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.

Upon arriving in Beijing for the Olympics, Lomong was elected by his teammates to be the U.S. flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony a mere 13 months after becoming a U.S. citizen. "It's more than a dream," Lomong said. "I keep saying, I'm not sure if this is true or not true. I'm making the team and now I'm the first guy coming to the stadium and the whole world will be watching me carry the flag. There are no words to describe it." Lomong wound up finishing 12th in his semifinal heat of the 1500 in 3:41.00.

Lomong went to the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene with his own plan on how to make it to the Games. Originally believed to be running the first round of the 800m to get in a speed race, Lomong was advised to pull out of the event and save himself for the 1500m rounds, but chose to ignore it. In the 800m final, Lomong was in contention for the third and final spot but was knocked off balance by Khadevis Robinson late in the race and finished fifth. Undeterred, Lomong advanced through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the 1500m cleanly, and in the final made a gutsy sprint over the final 100m to earn the third and final qualifying spot. On the medal platform following the race, Lomong exulted, "Thank you America!"

When Lomong was 6 years old, the second son in a line of six children born to a farmer in the village of Boya, Sudan was taken from his parents at gunpoint by the Janjaweed government militia while attending Catholic Mass. He was to be trained as a soldier, or starve to death. During three weeks of imprisonment, he ate once a day, a mixture of sorghum and sand.

Three older boys, all around age 14, had discovered a hole in the fence surrounding the prison camp and decided to attempt and escape and to bring Lomong with them. "They told me, 'You're going home', even though they knew we weren't," Lomong said. "They said that so I would join them. They were trying to save my life." For three days Lomong and his friends ran toward safety in Kenya. When they reached the Kenyan border, the three teens were too old to be accepted into a refugee camp, were arrested and returned to Sudanese officials. Only Lomong was granted refuge. "Anything I do in life, I put those guys in front," says Lomong, who cannot recall their names and has no idea if they survived. "They were more than brothers to me."

Lomong spent 10 years living in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, where he learned to write by drawing letters in the sand with his finger. But that rudimentary education was enough to help earn him liberation. "They told us that the U.S.A. wants to give 3,500 'Lost Boys' homes," Lomong said. "They said if you want to come to America, write an essay explaining why." For two nights Lomong and many of his friends worked in silence. "I remember it felt like taking a test," he said. "I just sat down, the whole of my mind emptied onto the paper. I wrote some of it in Swahili, I wasn't even aware of it." One month later, his essay was chosen by the Joint Volunteer Agency, and he was on his way to America.

When Lomong came to the U.S. along with the other "Lost Boys of Sudan," he was adopted by Robert and Barbara Rogers, a couple who lived in Tully, New York. But life in the rural town was unlike any he had ever experienced. Lomong did not know how to flush a toilet and began looking for sacks of corn when told the house was stacked with food. His first night was spent sleeping with the light on because he didn't know there was a switch to turn it off. His first shower at the Rogers' home was cold. He thought nothing of that. Lomong had only bathed in streams or cold water. The second time, the shower was scalding. He stood under the blistering spray for a second or two, then stepped out of the stall. Then back in. Then back out. Until he was clean.

One day, Lomong asked Robert Rogers if he could go out on a 30 kilometer run, the same distance he ran along the perimeter of the refugee camp in Kenya daily. Unsure of exactly how long 30 kilometers was, Rogers called his friend Jim Paccia, a high school track coach, and asked him. Paccia immediately signed Lomong up for cross-country. Before the first race, Paccia tried to keep things simple for Lomong, instructing him to go to the front and not to let anyone beat him. Lomong went on to win a New York state championship in the mile.

Lomong spent a year at Norfolk State University in Virginia before transferring to Northern Arizona, where he could train at mile-high altitude. In 2007, he won the 3000m at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and the 1500m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. A month later, he became a United States citizen. After competing at the NCAA cross-country championships in the fall, Lomong turned professional and signed a sponsorship deal with Nike.

Before coming to live in the U.S., Lomong witnessed one day of Olympic history, a day in Sydney when sprinter Michael Johnson was in action. He paid five shillings, the equivalent of 7 cents that he'd earned for watering a cow in Kenya, to watch on a tiny black-and-white TV powered by a car battery. Lomong met Johnson at the Olympic Trials and told him that he inspired him to become an Olympic runner.


How tall is Lopez Lomong? How old is Lopez Lomong? Where does Lopez Lomong live? Find out here.

Age: 31 years old
Birthday: January 5, 1985
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 148 lbs.
Birthplace: Kimotong, Sudan
Hometown: Tully, NY
Current Residence: Beaverton, OR

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