So you heard about the 'independent' athlete who is trying to compete at the Olympics, right?
There are few more international events on earth than the Olympic Games but there may be one athlete competing as an independent. Find out how here.
From the flag waving opening to the not always so tasteful uniforms, the Olympics may be the most nationalistic sporting event on earth. But for one marathon runner the current political status of his country has left him outside the club.
Guor Marial is a native of the newly formed country of the Republic of South Sudan. During the Sudanese civil war he fled and he is now a refugee in the United States. Marial is in the process of getting his US citizenship but as it stands he is not able to leave the US as he doesn’t have a passport. However it is hoped that his paperwork can be rushed through in time to that he can at least travel to and from London.
But Marial faces another issue as the Republic of South Sudan is not yet a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), meaning they won’t be formally present at the Games.
The IOC have now approved Marial to appear as an independent, a move that the marathon runner welcomed.
"I am fine with that because I will be carrying South Sudan and its flag in my heart," Marial said. "All South Sudan will see me, and it will give my country hope in the world community."
As it stands it is still not even certain that he will make it to London but if Marial makes it, keep an eye out for him. If anyone, aside from the Irish competitors, deserves our support, it is him.