Sudanese refugee Lopez Lomong was chosen by his U.S. Olympic teammates Wednesday to be the American delegation's flag-bearer at Friday's Opening Ceremonies, a move that will cast an additional spotlight on the controversy over humanitarian abuses in Sudan's embattled Darfur region as the Beijing Games begin.
The announcement of the vote by U.S. Olympic team captains came just hours after the Chinese government rescinded the visa of 2006 Olympic speedskating gold medalist Joey Cheek, the co-founder of Team Darfur, a group of athletes that aims to raise awareness about the conflict in Sudan and has been pressing China to do more to help end the fighting.
Lomong is an active member of the organization. "This is the most exciting day ever in my life," Lomong, 23, said in a statement. "It's a great honor for me that my teammates chose to vote for me. I'm here as an ambassador of my country, and I will do everything I can to represent my country well."
Photo Credit: Ricardo Mazalan / Associated Press