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Independent Olympic Athletes Steal The Show At Opening Ceremony

Submitted by on July 28, 2012 – 11:25 amOne Comment

In my heart, the USA will always be No. 1. But after last night’s opening ceremonies, there’s a new team I’ll also be rooting for at this summer’s London Olympics: the Independent Olympic Athletes, who entered the stadium during the parade of nations with more excitement and joy than every other country’s delegation combined.

This year, four athletes are competing under the Olympic flag for various reasons. The three Olympians who led the boisterous dance party through London’s Olympic Stadium were all from Netherlands Antilles, a Caribbean nation which was dissolved in 201o. In the photo above, they are (from left to right): Liemarvin Bonevacia (400m), Reginald de Windt (Judo), and Philipine van Aanholt (Sailing). They rocked out.

The fourth athlete, who hadn’t arrived in London in time for the ceremony, is marathoner Guor Marial. Marial is from South Sudan, a nation that declared independence from war-ravaged Sudan in 2011. Without an Olympic Committee in place yet, Marial could have competed with the Sudanese team- but he told Joshua Kors via the Huffington Post that this would be an insult to his countrymen:

 ”If I ran for Sudan, I would be betraying my people,” he says. “I would be dishonoring the two million people who died for our freedom,” including eight of his brothers and sisters.

What do you think of the IOAs? Who are your favorite athletes at London 2012?

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