Guor Marial

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Guor Marial
Guor Marial (Independent Olympic Athlete) - London 2012 Mens Marathon.jpg
Guor Marial in the marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London
Personal information
Nationality South Sudanese
Born (1984-04-15) 15 April 1984 (age 30)
Panrieng County, Unity, Sudan
Residence Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb)
Sport
Country Independent Olympic Athlete
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Marathon
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals 47th in 2012
Personal best(s) 2:12:55[1]
Updated on 12 August 2012.

Guor Marial (born 15 April 1984) is a South Sudanese track and field athlete. He is a Dinka tribesman.

Marial competed in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because South Sudan does not yet have a recognized National Olympic committee (NOC), Marial competed under the Olympic Flag at the 2012 Olympics, rather than the South Sudanese flag. He was one of four athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics under the Olympic flag rather than that of an individual country.[2]

History[edit]

In 1994, at the age of nine, Marial fled from a refugee camp during the Sudanese Civil War.[3] While 28 members of his family were killed during the conflict,[3] Marial was able to escape to Egypt, and then permanently to the United States.[4] He was granted refugee status by the United States when he was 16, and now lives and trains in Flagstaff, Arizona. Though his parents survived the civil war, he has not seen them in 20 years.[5] Eight of his brothers and sisters were killed in the war.[6]

He began participating in track and field while attending high school in Concord, New Hampshire,[7] and also competed in college at Iowa State, where he was an All-American athlete.[5]

2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

Marial fulfilled the A-qualification standard for the Marathon in October 2011, allowing him to participate in the Olympic marathon event at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[3] Marial's case was called "unique" by the IOC,[8] as prior to the games South Sudan had yet to form a National Olympic Committee and seek full recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which would have allowed them to send a team and compete under the flag of South Sudan. Marial holds permanent resident status in the United States, but not citizenship.[6] According to his interview in Runner's World, Marial applied for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen in 2011 and had his naturalization interview, but his application remains pending: "Technically, I was supposed to be a citizen last June, because I did everything, I did my citizen test, I did my interview, I did my fingerprint, and everything was all set. All I needed to do was go to their office and get my passport and do the ceremony. That was in June 2011, but there has been a security background check...and that’s what took everything longer."[9]

The National Olympic Committee of Sudan offered to allow Marial to compete as a member of the Sudanese team. Marial rejected this offer, saying, "It's not right for me to do that. It's not right for me to represent the country I refuged from."[10] He went on to say, "If I ran for Sudan, I would be betraying my people. I would be dishonoring the two million people who died for our freedom."[6]

The IOC-executive board announced its decision on 20 July to allow Marial to participate as an Independent Olympic Athlete.[11]

Marial's travel documentation could not reach him in time, and so he could not march in the Opening Ceremony on 27 July.[5]

Marial finished 47th in the marathon, with a time of 2:19:32.[12] His personal best is 2:12:55.[1]

References[edit]