From Lost Boy to Olympic Legend

Lopez Lomong talks training, faith and bringing hope to his war-torn homeland.

This summer, Lopez Lomong will again represent the United States when he runs in the Olympics—even though, remarkably, he only first came to the U.S. when he was 16 years old. He was one of the “Lost Boys” of the Second Sudanese Civil War. Since then, Lomong has become a leader in the athletic community, even carrying the U.S. flag in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He’s also started a foundation that helps raise aid and awareness of the needs in South Sudan, and he runs with Team World Vision. We recently caught up with Lomong to talk about his Olympic training, his faith and his work to empower those in South Sudan.

Q: What does your Olympic training look like?
A:

It’s a very intense few months. The most important thing is to focus on one or two races. I’m not nervous at all. I’m running for joy. This is fun. This is for the people who come and watch. I’m just going to go out there, put my shoes on, line up and run.

Q: How do you use your position to help Sudan?
A:

There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of, especially the education. That’s why I started [the Lopez Lomong Foundation]. I don’t want to just tell the story of what I overcame in my life; I want to tell the story of what I’m doing right now.

Q: How has your faith helped you?
A:

I’m here because God rescued me, gave me a second chance, kept me alive today. I cannot run a step without God giving me the strength to run and be happy. I’m doing this for the people who are not able to run anymore, who are dead. I’m that voice.

Q: So, what’s next for you after the Olympics?
A:

I ran away from the people who wanted to train me as a child soldier. Now I want to coach people to overcome obstacles—to be good runners but also good citizens. This is the leadership I want to bring into the coaching arena when I’m no longer running.

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