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Lomong Describes Horrific Journey Out of Sudan

U.S. flag bearer Lopez Lomong, an entrant in the 1,500 meters, jolted tears out of even the most cynical of journalists as he described his journey from war-torn Sudan to the United States. Tom Boswell's take will be online and in most editions of Friday's newspaper, but a quick preview here:

Lomong said he was a happy kid until age six, when during an open-air Catholic Church service on a Sunday morning, Sudanese rebels stormed the building, demanded everyone lay on the floor, and herded the children out. He recalls being pushed into a canvas-covered truck where he cried with nearly 100 other children as they were taken to a window-less hut. He spent three weeks there, pulling the sand out of the grain he was given to eat to stave off death.

"A lot of kids were dying every day... I call them my angels," he said. "I witness a lot of kids go to sleep and never stand up again."

One night, Lomong and three older boys escaped by crawling through a small hole in a fence. They ran for three days and three nights until they were arrested by Kenyan border control agents. Lomong spent the next 10 years living in a military camp, eating chicken twice a year, with10 children sharing one boiled chicken. He learned English lessons by writing in the ground. He ate one meal a day, late at night. He played soccer with other boys during the day to try to keep his mind off food.

When he finally got out of the camp at 16, selected along with 3,500 to be brought to America and placed with families, he was adopted by a family in Tully, N.Y.. They took him to McDonald's and he couldn't finish the chicken he ordered, so he wrapped it up and took it home to eat the next day. He could not bear to throw it out. "Everything I had was just a blessing to me.". Lomong won his citizenship last year.

By Amy Shipley  |  August 7, 2008; 10:51 PM ET
 
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Comments

This is the feel good story of the games and hasn't received enough coverage because many are afraid to offend the Chinese. Bob Costas and NBC should be ashamed after all the blithering they did in the opening ceremony, and no mention of this story?

Posted by: amiabldom | August 9, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

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