A jumpy figure in an all-black sweatsuit sprinted onto the floor of the Bellarmine Prep gymnasium – to a standing ovation.
“Wow!” the man screamed, obviously stunned by the response. “What’s going on Bellarmine?”
As the roar got louder, he added, “I thought I was in the Olympic Games right now!.”
On campus Monday was a special guest with an extraordinary story – U.S. Olympic distance runner Lopez Lomong.
Lomong is a partner with World Vision, and was in Seattle earlier Monday talking to nearly 1,100 officials about his fascinating upbringing, which not only was detailed extensively during coverage of the Summer Olympics in London, but is now outlined in his new book – “Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games.”
The 27-year-old made a special trip to talk to Bellarmine Prep students and faculty Monday, and he recounted the life-changing circumstances to his leaving South Sudan, being adopted by an American family and fulfilling his lifelong goal – racing in the Olympics.
At 6, Lomong was kidnapped by rebels in his native country and taken to a prison camp. With the help of older boys, he escaped to a refugee camp in Kenya where he spent the next 10 years.
Through his new church, he connected with a host family in New York in 2001 where he learned a lot about American culture – and ultimately finished high school. He left to attend Northern Arizona University where he won an NCAA title in the 1,500-meter run. In 2007, he became a U.S. citizen – and competed for the U.S. Track and Field team in the Summer Olympics in 2008 and last summer.
After the assembly, Lomong posed with students for photos, and got in an afternoon workout – running with both cross-country teams at their practice.