The Olympics seem to be an event that is always filled with high drama, intense competition, controversies, and inspiring stories–this year has been no different. In London, four badminton teams were disqualified for “throwing away” a match in order to avoid facing a specific team in the elimination rounds. Jordan Weiber (2011 Gymnastics World Champion) did not qualify for the medal rounds in the all-around individual event because of some absurd rule that only allows the top two from each country to advance. Japan won the silver medal and bumped Ukraine out of a medal in Men’s Team Gymnastics after appealing to the judges. Clearly, the Olympics have been a hotspot for controversy. However, one particular story stands out during these games in London. It is the story of Guor Marial.
Guor Marial is a citizen of South Sudan–a country that gained its independence one year ago. When Marial was eight years old, the violent conflict between South Sudan and Sudan killed 8 of his siblings. He fled to Kenya, Egypt, and Arizona. Last year, he ran his first marathon and finished with an Olympic qualifying time of 2:14:32. Since South Sudan has been busy with famines and controlling political situations, they had no time to form an Olympic committee, meaning he could not march under the flag of South Sudan. Sudan offered him a chance to compete for them, but he refused.
“Some things are more important than Olympic glory. If I ran for Sudan, I would be betraying my people. I would be dishonoring the two million people who died for our freedom. I want to bring honor to my country. People who just want glory, the spotlight of the Olympics, they don’t care about other people. I’m fighting for independent status because I do care. When I run, I want people to see me and say, “He is from South Sudan.”
One week before the Olympics commenced, the IOC granted Marial and three other athletes to compete as an independent athlete. Marial’s commitment to South Sudan was rewarded in the end, and his story is one of the most inspiring story during the Olympics. Watch him run on August 12th on the final day of the 2012 Olympic Games.
For a more in-depth story of Guor Marial, please visit Deadspin.
Connect With Us
- Alek Wek's Journey Home
- blue key
- blue key champions
- Corporate Partnerships
- Photo Friday
- refugee awareness
- refugee news
- refugee stories
- staff stories
- UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie
- UNHCR Goodwill Envoy Khaled Hosseini
- UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie
- World Refugee Day
Tags#bluekey angelina jolie awareness bloggers blue key Blue Key champions children dadaab donate egypt ethiopia families famine help horn of africa how to help how to help refugees kenya libya photos refugee refugee awareness refugees refugee stories resettlement show support social media somalia south sudan sudan support symbol tunisia tweetathon twitter UNHCR united nations united states UN refugee agency USA USA for UNHCR video videos women world refugee day