Sport and politics shouldn't mix.

I heard it in a press conference again today, from a Chinese journalist who was ascribing that principle to the IOC, and asking what the rules were about protests or demonstrations by athletes during the opening ceremony.

Earlier this week, Jacques Rogge proclaimed the IOC to be an idealist organisation, adding perhaps that made them naive sometimes. Frequently cute, I'd say.

The sport and politics argument is always a matter of degrees. It's where you draw the line that counts, but every once in a while along comes an example that makes a mockery of the principle.

Let me tell you something about the flag bearer of the US team: he's called Lopez Lomong, and he's living proof that sport and politics can't be separated.

Lomong has been picked to carry the US flag

Born in Sudan, he was kidnapped by militia at his church when just six years old.

He became separated from his family and three weeks later, along with three other children, he escaped.

After running for three days through bushland, he evaded his captors and made it to Kenya and the relative security of a refugee camp that was to become his home for the next 10 years.

In 2000 he walked five miles to watch the Sydney Olympics on a black and white TV.

He was inspired by seeing Michael Johnson run and after writing an essay in 2001 about what he'd like to achieve if he was allowed to go to the United States, he got his chance, adopted by a family in Tully, New York.

He became a US citizen in 2007 and qualified to represent the USA in the 1500m at the trials this year.

It's a story that distils the spirit of Olympism. When Lopez Lomong says if he's lucky enough to make it on to the podium in Beijing all he'll be thinking about is the plight of the kids dying in Darfur, I believe him.

Try separating the politics from the sport in that man.

And just a final thought on the politics and sport mixture.

Jacques Rogge was asked about the issue of whether North and South Korea would march together in the opening ceremony.

Rogge confided that despite him having written to both heads of state on several occasions he hadn't been able to get them to agree to it.

OK, so sport and politics mix just fine when it suits.

Gordon Farquhar is BBC 5 Live's sports news and Olympics correspondent. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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