The World Vision family all around the world will be cheering for US Olympic hopeful Lopez Lomong when he lines up for the men’s 5,000 metres in London.
A medal contender, Lopez also has his sights set on bringing help and hope to children and families in South Sudan, in partnership with World Vision.
Lopez was one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, the name given to over 20,000 boys who were kidnapped, displaced or orphaned by Sudan’s long-running civil conflict.
Born in 1985 in a village in southern Sudan, Lopez was kidnapped at the age of six by rebel soldiers. After weeks of watching other children die, he and three other captives escaped. They ran for three days and crossed into Kenya, where they were taken to a refugee camp.
Lopez lived as a refugee in Kenya for 10 years before being relocated to the US to begin a new life with a family in New York. He soon discovered he was the fastest runner in his school and at university won two national athletics titles.
Lopez went professional in 2007 and became an American citizen in time to qualify for the Olympic trials the following year.
He was voted by his fellow athletes to carry the US flag at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but lost out in the semi-finals of the 1,500 metres event.
He qualified to compete in the 5,000 metres race at the 2012 Olympics after finishing third at the recent US national trials in a time of 13:24:47.
Lopez has started 4 South Sudan – a partnership between World Vision and the Lopez Lomong Foundation. 4 South Sudan’s mission is to meet the needs of the South Sudanese people through water, healthcare, education and nutrition.
Straight after the Olympics, Lopez plans to travel to Kenya and South Sudan as part of his work for 4 South Sudan.
If you want to join us in cheering for Lopez, qualifying for the men’s 5,000 metres race starts on 8 August and the final will be run at 7.30pm (London time) on Saturday 11 August.
This article was originally published on the US World Vision website.