Sunday, August 24, 2008

U.S. team picks Georgian to lead them in Olympics closing ceremony

McClatchy Washington Bureau While U.S. athletes have stayed silent about politics during these Olympic Games, their actions have spoken volumes. First came the decision by U.S. team captains to pick runner Lopez Lomong, who was a Sudanese war refugee, to lead the U.S. delegation into the Aug. 8 opening ceremony as the team's flag bearer. Many interpreted Lomong's selection as a dig at the Chinese government's support of Sudan, which has armed militias that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the country's Darfur region. On Friday night, the U.S. team entered the political fray again by choosing archer Khatuna Lorig, who was born in what is now the country of Georgia, to be the U.S. flag bearer in Sunday's closing ceremony. With Georgia recently fighting a mismatched war against Russian troops in the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia, many saw Lorig's selection as a show of support by U.S. athletes for the besieged Georgians.

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