UPDATE: Lomong Will Carry US Flag at the Olympics!
The Electronic Village participates in the 'Am I Not Human?' blogging campaign on the 27th of each month. Our goal is to raise awareness necessary to eliminate human rights abuses in Darfur, Haiti, Tibet and elsewhere.
Joseph Lopepe "Lopez" Lomong is a Sudanese native who fulfilled his dream when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic track team.
He finished third in 1,500-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. The top three finishers in the event earn Olympic berths. He made the U.S. team on his first anniversary as a United States citizen.
Lomong fled Sudan and spent 10 years in a refugee camp. He left the camp in 2001 and found a home and a family on Otisco Lake. He's one of six Sudanese boys who were taken in by Robert and Barbara Rogers.
When he became a citizen last July, Lomong said he wanted to represent the U.S. at the Olympics to show appreciation for the country that offered him a chance to start a new life.
His track career earned him a contract with Nike. Last year, he won the 1,500 meters -- almost a mile -- at the NCAA track and field competition, representing Northern Arizona University. He took time off from college to train for the Olympics. He has one more semester to finish his bachelor's degree in hotel management.
Lomong is an Olympic athlete who remembers his roots. He is a member of Team Darfur. Team Darfur is a group of Olympians using their fame to bring attention to the atrocities taking place in Darfur. I encourage all 'villagers' to cheer for any Team Darfur athlete that competes next month in the Beijing Olympics. They deserve it!