Cranes in the Olympics
The Olympics has long since captured the minds and imaginations of the world. This summer will be no different in Rio. We are excited for Friday’s opening ceremony because we get to watch Brazil show off it’s country and culture, and of course we get to cheer on both the Ugandan and United States athletes. The US has been sending successful athletes to the modern Olympics since it’s start in 1896. Team USA, across all events, has earned a total of 2,397 olympic medals, 976 of which being gold medals. Unlike the enormous success that the US and other more developed countries have had at the Olympics, Uganda has won just a mere 7 medals since it’s first appearance in 1956. Success in the Olympics for countries like Uganda tend to treat their Olympians as national heroes and ambassadors for their country. Here is the story of Uganda’s most recent Marathon gold medalist, Stephen Kiprotich.
Stephen Kiprotich was born on February 27, 1987 and is the youngest of seven children. As an elementary student, Kiprotich had to drop out for 2 years because of an unidentifiable disease. From 2004 to 2006 he quit athletics to focus on his school work. When he turned 17 he quit school and moved to Kenya to train to be a marathon runner. He was funded by a nonprofit organization called A Running Start. In 2011, Kiprotich ran a “personal best” in the Enshede Marathon, in the Netherlands. The next year he finished 3rd at the Tokyo Marathon. In 2012 Kiprotich made his first ever appearance at the Olympic games in London where he was awarded a gold medal, and is one of only 2 Ugandans to do so.
Kiprotich credits John Akii-Bua, Ugandan Gold Medal runner, as his inspiration. His success did not go unnoticed by his countrymen as he was awarded the highest sporting honor in Uganda - The Nile Special-Uspa Sports Personality of the Year. We hope to hear more stories like Stephen’s as we watch the XXXI Olympiad in Rio!