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Mid-distance runner Lomong elected US flag bearer
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The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced late Wednesday that track and field athlete Lopez Lomong has been selected as flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic Team by fellow members of Team USA.

Sudan-born Lomong, 23, was notified of his selection Wednesday night via phone in Dalian, Northeast China, where he is training with the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team.

"This is the most exciting day ever in my life," Lomong said. "It's a great honor for me that my teammates chose to vote for me. The Opening Ceremony is the best day and the best moment of Olympic life. I'm here as an ambassador of my country and I will do everything I can to represent my country well."

To select the flag bearer, U.S. captains from each sport met in the Olympic Village Wednesday night, in person and via conference call for those not yet in Beijing. Any captain was able to bring forward a nominee from any sport. After the nominations and a discussion period, the athletes voted, selecting Lomong.

"The American flag means everything in my life, everything that describes me, coming from another country and going through all of the stages that I have to become a U.S. citizen," Lomong said.

"This is another amazing step for me in celebrating being an American. Seeing my fellow Americans coming behind me (in the Opening Ceremony) and supporting me will be a great honor, the highest honor. It's just a happy day. I don't even have the words to describe how happy I am," he added.

He will compete in the 1,500 meters in Beijing in what is his first international appearance.

Lomong, attending the Northern Arizona University where he won the 2007 NCAA outdoor 1,500 meter title and the 2007 NCAA indoor 3,000 meter title, finished third at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field in Eugene, Oregan, with a time of 3:41.00.

(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2008)

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