- Faith: Catholic
- Career: Athlete
- Birthday: January 05, 1985
- Accomplishments: The Olympics, Track
Lopez Lomong is a South Sudanese-born American track and field athlete. As one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Lomong came to the United States when he was 16 and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. In 2008, he qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 1500 meters at the Unites States Olympic track and field trials in Oregon.
He was also the flag bearer for the United States during the Summer 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony. He’s a member of Team Darfur, a group of athletes urging China to pressure the Sudanese government to address the War in Darfur. Lomong’s autobiography, Running for My Life, was published in 2012 and was co-written with Mark Tabb. Lopez Lomong was born Lopepe Lomong in Kimotong, an ethnic Buya village in Budi County, Namorunyang State, South Sudan, to Rita Namana and Awei Lomong. His birthdate is January 5, but like all Lost Boys who came to the United States without paperwork, his official birthday is January 1.
Lomong and his family belong to the Buya ethnic group of southeastern Sudan, who speak the Laarim language. Lomong was a victim of the Second Sudanese Civil War. When he was six, he was abducted and assumed dead by his family and buried in absentia. He almost died in captivity but was helped to freedom by others from his village. The four of them ran for three days until they crossed into Kenya. Lomong spent 10 years in the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana County, northeastern Kenya, before being moved to the United States through the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program by Toomey Residential and Community Services.
His name, Lopez, was a nickname from the refugee camp that he later adopted officially. After watching Michael Johnson at the 2000 Summer Olympics on television, he was inspired to become a runner. Lomong is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. In 2001, he was resettled in the United States with Robert and Barbara Rogers in New York State. He attended Tully High School, entering at a 10th-grade level. In high school, he helped lead the cross country and track teams to sectional and state titles. After briefly attending Norfolk State University, he later competed for Northern Arizona University.
What religion is Lopez Lomong?
Lomong identifies as a Catholic. When he was six, he was abducted while attending Catholic Mass. While discussing his abduction experience, Lomong said, “When we were in Africa, we didn’t know what was there for us as kids – we just ran. God was planning all of this stuff for me, and I didn’t know. Now, I’m using running to get the word out about how horrible things were back in Sudan during the war.”
Lomong continued, “Sometimes these things are not on CNN, so if I put out the word, I hope people can get the information. Right now, similar terrible things are going on in Darfur; people are running out of Darfur, and I put myself in their shoes.”
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