Lopez Lomong pulled off something on Wednesday he wasn't able to accomplish at the Beijing Olympics, advance to the finals. The former Tully track star finished 4th in his heat of the five-thousand meters, advancing to Saturday's final, and in the process conserving his energy for the big race.
" I' m feeling great right now ," said Lopez on the phone from London, " I ' m gonna run as smooth as I can and I'm gonna use any extra energy that I need. To win the gold medal its gonna take a very good quarter. I think about the last 400 meters Im gonna have to run real fast. I'm really excited and I been trained for this for a long time, four years now."
Lomong doesn't seem to feel as much pressure as some of the other Olympic athletes. After all, as a former "Lost Boy of Sudan", he spent 10 years of his childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp before his foster parents from Tully took him in. Lomong says Central New York is the first place he's ever been able to call home, and he feels the love and support from Tully, Central New York, and from across the United States.
" I think that's what really drives me to the next level.To have people out there following my jou r ney , and being part of my journey. I wouldn't be able to do this with out their cheers its very encouraging and I would like to thank ev er ybody "
Lomong applied for his foster parents to win the 2012 O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award, an award that honors athlete's Olympic mentors. In Lomong's case that's his foster parents Barbara and Robert Rogers, who are both in London this week to watch him try to achieve his Olympic dream.
"M y parent s mean so much to me. They been supporting me since day one. When I joined high school, they not only been there for my education and not only for my running but for counseling me telling me that I can do it. So I personally nominated my family and i am so gracious to have them as my family. "
Click on the O.C. Tanner Facebook page to read Lomong's statement about his foster parents, and to vote for them to win the award.
Lomong will run for the gold medal on Saturday at 2:30 p.m eastern time.