Friday, August 8, 2008

Spoiler Alert: How the US Olympic Team made a Fashionably Responsible Opening Ceremony

We were so pleased to hear yesterday that the US Olympic team chose runner Lopez Lomong to carry the American flag and lead the team in the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games in China. Lomong was born in Sudan, and came to America as one of the "Lost Boys" after being kidnapped at age 6 and spending 10 years in a refugee camp.

What makes this an especially significant choice for the team is the fact that Olympic-host country China continues to financially support the Sudanese government even as the nation continues a nasty 'civil' war and allows mass violence against its own people in the Darfur region. Also to note is the fact that China recently denied visa entry to some non-competing US athletes who had pledged their support to Team Darfur, a group of athletes devoted to raising awareness of the situation in Darfur.

There is an excellent interview with Lopez Lomong at the TimesOnline site that I recommend reading (below). I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know some refugees resettled here in the US and advocating for refugee issues through the IRC Seattle office, and Darfur is a cause close to my heart. I have never felt more American than when I see a new refugee arrive at the airport full of hope, or watch them light up simply at the sight of indoor running water in their new apartment. Their sunny attitudes in light of the tremendous hardships they have faced are nothing short of incredible.

So I praise the US Olympic team and its captains for making a Fashionably Responsible choice as to who would best represent them. Seeing Lopez Lomong carry the flag (just in photos!) has renewed my sense of pride in my country and I hope each and every athlete will hear us cheering tonight as we watch the (very) delayed telecast of the opening ceremony!

And as a total fashionista side note, look for the team to be decked out in Ralph Lauren from head to toe. No word on use of eco-friendly or sustainable fabrics, but at least this time they went with an American company! (sorry Roots.) More on the fashions can be found at

READ the article in the London Times HERE.

efforts in refugee camps and refugee resettlement at the IRC HERE.

LEARN more about the Lost Boys of Sudan and the genocide in Darfur at, HERE.

a block in the Darfur Wall to show your solidarity HERE.

WATCH amazing documentaries about "Lost Boys of Sudan": Look for "The Lost Boys on Sudan" and "God Grew Tired of Us" or "The Darfur Diaries" on DVD at your rental shop or library.

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