Changing China

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Is ‘Lost Boy’ Lomong the right choice to carry U.S. flag?

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Lomong celebratesWhen militiamen swept into their villages on horseback in the early 1990s, shooting, burning and raping as they went, tens of thousands of young Sudanese boys were forced to flee for their lives.

They walked for hundreds of miles, many dying on the way of starvation and illness. Others were eaten by lions. But many survived, ending up in refugee camps in the near-desert plains of northern Kenya.

In 2001, nearly 4,000 of the “Lost Boys” were resettled in the United States. On Friday, one of them will have the honour of carrying the U.S. flag at the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Lopez Lomong,¬†who left his home in the southern Sudan in 1991 as a six-year-old boy, is now a successful middle-distance runner. Chosen by his own team mates for the honour, he says Friday will be “the most exciting day ever in my life“.

You can carry the flag, Dirk — just don’t wave it around

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Nowitzki trainsDirk Nowitzki was picked to carry the German flag into the Olympic Stadium’s Opening Ceremonies on Friday but, in a country where carrying the national flag had long fallen out of favour, the NBA all-star basketball player was given a few unsolicited pointers by German Olympic officials on how to do the job.

“They gave me the tip that it’s not going to be like at Carnival and so I shouldn’t wave the flag around too wildly,” said Nowitzki, who added he was deeply honoured to be the country’s flag-bearer. “But I think I’ll still be able to have some fun with the whole thing.”

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