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Olympics: Runner without a country finishes marathon (South Sudan athlete)


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#1 Dazzle

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:49 AM

I thoroughly respect this athlete. It really doesn't matter if he finishes first or last. He is from South Sudan which has broken off from the country of Sudan. He lives in the US but is still not a citizen yet.

http://sports.ca.msn...nishes-marathon

I think this is an example of true Olympic spirit.

LONDON - While his competitors ran under the brightly colored flags of their countries, marathoner Guor Marial competed in a black and grey uniform, the letters "I.O.A." printed across his chest.
Independent Olympic Athlete.
When he crossed the finish line, he touched those three letters, then pounded the left side of his chest with his fist in a subtle but significant gesture to describe his Olympic experience.
The south Sudan refugee competed Sunday under the banner of the International Olympic Committee. A runner without a country, he didn't want to compete for Sudan and couldn't compete for the United States, where he lives and trains but is not a citizen. He finished 47th, 11:31 minutes behind the winning time.
The time was of little consequence.
"Finishing the marathon is more important than anything like that," he said. "This is special for the people who support me, in the United States and the whole world and my people in south Sudan. It was important for me to finish, no matter what."
Not having a flag "doesn't worry me a lot because coming here, technically, I feel like I was representing south Sudan even though I was not wearing it," he told The Associated Press immediately after the marathon. "It is important to bring the name of south Sudan here and raise awareness of the issue going on in south Sudan."
Marial, 28, was born in what is now the newly independent country of South Sudan. He fled a long time before the south broke away from Sudan last year and doesn't have any South Sudanese documents. Although he is now a permanent resident in the U.S. — he trains in Flagstaff, Ariz., — he's not a citizen there, either.
He was offered the chance to represent Sudan at the games but declined.
With no passport, no country and seemingly no hope, Marial met fellow runner Brad Poore at a race in Minneapolis in October and 10 months later — with plenty of help from his new friend — he got to compete on the final day of the London Olympics.
Poore had phoned everyone he could think of from charities to senators, embassies and border agencies so that Marial would be able to compete.
Marial had run only two marathons previously, but finished both in Olympic qualifying times. His second was just two months ago in San Diego, leaving him very little time to taper for the biggest race of his life.
"It was a heavy responsibility on my shoulders, but it was great," he said. "I feel blessed to be able to do this. Two marathons back-to-back in two months, was not ideal. The whole thing is to do this to honour our people. Support the refugees and the people of South Sudan."
Thousands of people lined the marathon route, which wound past many of London's famous landmarks and finished in the Mall, within sight of Buckingham Palace. He saw people waving south Sudan flags, and yelling encouragement to him in his native tongue. And he heard plenty of other support from the fans who have followed his story.
For that, he was grateful to the IOC for helping get to London.
"The IOC is great. It's special. I can't thank them enough for giving me this opportunity," he said. "At the same time, It's about the people. In my heart here, I'm carrying those people in my heart."


Posted Image --> THANKS EGATTI.

I have to say Dazzle's was the coolest. ROTFLOL


#2 SidneyRaymond

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:01 AM

That‘s an awesome story.

Good for the IOC to let him compete.

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#3 D-Money

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:04 AM

Although I appreciate sport and athleticism, I'm not a fan of the Olympics...and it's because of the rampant patriotism. So I really enjoyed this story.

The nations take credit for individual and team performances. So much so that years after the fact the nations tout previous medal counts with little-to-no mention of who actually won those medals. There's a mall here in Calgary with giant medals hanging from the ceiling representative of past medals won by "Canada" - they're absolutely huge, but don't bother having the athlete's names on them.

But I'm not a fan of patriotism in the least. Many people say it's a unifying force for good, but I would say it's the exact opposite.

“Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy”
- George Bernard Shaw
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#4 CanucksFanMike

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:36 AM

Although I appreciate sport and athleticism, I'm not a fan of the Olympics...and it's because of the rampant patriotism. So I really enjoyed this story.

The nations take credit for individual and team performances. So much so that years after the fact the nations tout previous medal counts with little-to-no mention of who actually won those medals. There's a mall here in Calgary with giant medals hanging from the ceiling representative of past medals won by "Canada" - they're absolutely huge, but don't bother having the athlete's names on them.

But I'm not a fan of patriotism in the least. Many people say it's a unifying force for good, but I would say it's the exact opposite.

“Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy”
- George Bernard Shaw


So ur sayin that during the two weeks when the winter games were in Vancouver you just didn't bother coming downtown to enjoy being around robson square and all that? Did you find the random outbreaks of Oh Canada annoying? Heck, were you upset when Crosby scored in overtime to win gold, or when Alex Bilodeau won our first gold on home soil?

C'mon, lighten up. The olympics last two weeks every two years and you dont have to be a phychopath to cheer for your country. It really isn't that hard.

As for the OP, great story! Thanks for posting!
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#5 Ovech Trick

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:09 AM

Although I appreciate sport and athleticism, I'm not a fan of the Olympics...and it's because of the rampant patriotism. So I really enjoyed this story.

The nations take credit for individual and team performances. So much so that years after the fact the nations tout previous medal counts with little-to-no mention of who actually won those medals. There's a mall here in Calgary with giant medals hanging from the ceiling representative of past medals won by "Canada" - they're absolutely huge, but don't bother having the athlete's names on them.

But I'm not a fan of patriotism in the least. Many people say it's a unifying force for good, but I would say it's the exact opposite.

"Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy"
- George Bernard Shaw


I don't considier international sporting events nationalism, even though the commentators try to put politics in it.
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#6 SukhKular

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:13 AM

I don't considier international sporting events nationalism, even though the commentators try to put politics in it.


I get what you're saying but there are lots of huge individual stories that happen at every Olympics. The runner mentions in this thread. The double amputee from S. Africa. There are many examples. Usain Bolt is an icon because of his superhuman speed. It's hard to recognize everyone indivually but I guarantee they are all legends in their hometowns, just for qualifying for the Olympics.
I'm saying Aladeen a lot because http://forum.canucks...dpost__10922428

I bet when Schneider turns 38, he will have broken all of Luongo's records.


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#7 D-Money

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:22 AM

So ur sayin that during the two weeks when the winter games were in Vancouver you just didn't bother coming downtown to enjoy being around robson square and all that? Did you find the random outbreaks of Oh Canada annoying? Heck, were you upset when Crosby scored in overtime to win gold, or when Alex Bilodeau won our first gold on home soil?

C'mon, lighten up. The olympics last two weeks every two years and you dont have to be a phychopath to cheer for your country. It really isn't that hard.

As for the OP, great story! Thanks for posting!


Had already moved out of Vancouver, so no, I didn't.

Like I said, I enjoy sports and displays of athleticism. Country has nothing to do with it.

The hockey was great, Canada winning didn't make it better or worse. Actually, I would have enjoyed seeing USA win. Loved the way Kes was playing, and the smack-talk was hilarious too. My favourite team of the tournament was Slovakia - Demitra (RIP) was an absolute force.


"Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about." - Mark Twain
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#8 SukhKular

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 10:26 AM

"Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about." - Mark Twain


I get what you're saying and you're entitled to your opinion, but that quote is just plain incorrect

I love Canada and I consider myself patriotic. I wasn't born here and I know what others are missing out on by not living in Canada. I'm f**king proud to be a Canadian and I think it's the best place in the world to live. When I scream "Oh Canada" I know exactly why I'm cheering and what this country stands for.

Screw Mark Twain. He was American, so the quote applies nicely to the majority of Americans.

Edited by SukhKular, 13 August 2012 - 10:27 AM.

I'm saying Aladeen a lot because http://forum.canucks...dpost__10922428

I bet when Schneider turns 38, he will have broken all of Luongo's records.


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#9 Martin Frk

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 10:29 AM

Great Story! Glad he could compete!
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#10 D-Money

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

I get what you're saying and you're entitled to your opinion, but that quote is just plain incorrect

I love Canada and I consider myself patriotic. I wasn't born here and I know what others are missing out on by not living in Canada. I'm f**king proud to be a Canadian and I think it's the best place in the world to live. When I scream "Oh Canada" I know exactly why I'm cheering and what this country stands for.

Screw Mark Twain. He was American, so the quote applies nicely to the majority of Americans.


So your feelings are more along the line of:

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it." - George Bernard Shaw

Myself, I feel no more connection to someone living on the coast of Newfoundland than I do someone who lives 500km South of me, simply because someone drew a line in the sand to indicate where the tax dollars go.

"The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?" - Pablo Casals

Edited by D-Money, 13 August 2012 - 12:12 PM.

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#11 KoreanHockeyFan

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:32 PM

I get what you're saying and you're entitled to your opinion, but that quote is just plain incorrect

I love Canada and I consider myself patriotic. I wasn't born here and I know what others are missing out on by not living in Canada. I'm f**king proud to be a Canadian and I think it's the best place in the world to live. When I scream "Oh Canada" I know exactly why I'm cheering and what this country stands for.

Screw Mark Twain. He was American, so the quote applies nicely to the majority of Americans.


That quote is actually quite the opposite of incorrect. Although I don't find blind patriotism to be that big of an issue here in Canada. It's more of a problem in the U.S, especially when I hear idiots scream out "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America." If you want to see willful patriotic ignorance, look down south, not here.

#12 *vInTaGe*

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 12:38 PM

I love this!

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#13 Bob.Loblaw

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 05:59 PM

So ur sayin that during the two weeks when the winter games were in Vancouver you just didn't bother coming downtown to enjoy being around robson square and all that? Did you find the random outbreaks of Oh Canada annoying? Heck, were you upset when Crosby scored in overtime to win gold, or when Alex Bilodeau won our first gold on home soil?

C'mon, lighten up. The olympics last two weeks every two years and you dont have to be a phychopath to cheer for your country. It really isn't that hard.

As for the OP, great story! Thanks for posting!



He did raise a point, though. Do you remember all 14 gold medallists? Or perhaps the more important question of whether it's disrespectful to trumpet our medal count without remembering the names.

So your feelings are more along the line of:

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it." - George Bernard Shaw

Myself, I feel no more connection to someone living on the coast of Newfoundland than I do someone who lives 500km South of me, simply because someone drew a line in the sand to indicate where the tax dollars go.

"The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?" - Pablo Casals


But you were exposed to the same institutions, through Canadian media, and Canadian school, medicare, similar history, and since we're on CDC, hockey. That line in the sand was drawn a long time ago, and our values have been built from that. Mainers and New Brunswickers are nothing alike. Even our lobster fishing techniques differ.

Edited by Bob.Loblaw, 13 August 2012 - 05:59 PM.

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