OLYMPIC TRACK: ISU Runner Competes With No Country
When the Olympics begin Friday athletes from around the world will march proudly behind their country’s flag.
Except for a former Iowa State University runner who is headed to London without a country to represent.
Iowa State graduate Guor Marial is a refugee from Sudan’s civil war.
He earned last-minute permission by the International Olympic Committee to compete in the games as an independent athlete, under the Olympic flag.
South Sudan is a newly independent country and has not established a national Olympic committee so it cannot send an Olympic team.
He couldn’t represent the U.S. either because athletes have to be full citizens of the countries they represent.
Marial says by competing, he’s honoring all those who lost their lives in the Sudanese conflict, including 28 members of his family.
“It’s very emotional and it raises high hopes for the young kids especially. It means a lot, and for me it means a lot to glorify the people who died for their freedom.”