July 23, 2012

South Sudanese Runner Will Compete in Olympics With Help from USOC Ombuds

The International Olympic Committee recently decided to allow Guor Marial, a South Sudanese refugee and marathoner, to compete in under the IOC flag. South Sudan has yet to form a National Olympic Committee and Marial is not a U.S. citizen. Without the IOC's decision, Marial could only have competed as a member of the Sudanese team. According to one news report, the USOC Ombudsman, John Ruger gets some credit for helping resolve the situation.

Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune offers this peek into the usually secretive work of the USOC Ombuds:
And give some credit to John Ruger, the U.S. Olympic Committee ombudsman, who thought it would help if Marial’s case were presented in the mass media. Ruger gave me the tip about Marial when I called to ask for some detail about how Lopez Lomong – another civil war refugee from the southern part of the Sudan, now the independent country - - was notified he had been chosen U.S. flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. 

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