Your Black Sports: Somalia’s Runner Inspires the World

August 24, 2008

Samia Yusuf Omar of Somalia reacts after a heat of the women's 200-meter during the athletics competitions in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008.

Samia Yusuf Omar headed back to Somalia Sunday, returning to the small two-room house in Mogadishu shared by seven family members. Her mother lives there, selling fruits and vegetables. Her father is buried there, the victim of a wayward artillery shell that hit their home and also killed Samia’s aunt and uncle.

This is the Olympic story we never heard.

It’s about a girl whose Beijing moment lasted a mere 32 seconds – the slowest 200-meter dash time out of the 46 women who competed in the event. Thirty-two seconds that almost nobody saw but that she carries home with her, swelled with joy and wonderment. Back to a decades-long civil war that has flattened much of her city. Back to an Olympic program with few Olympians and no facilities. Back to meals of flat bread, wheat porridge and tap water.

“I have my pride,” she said through a translator before leaving China. “This is the highest thing any athlete can hope for. It has been a very happy experience for me. I am proud to bring the Somali flag to fly with all of these countries, and to stand with the best athletes in the world.”

 

Click to Read.

 

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