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Teen Somali Sprinter Heads to Olympics

Against All Odds Teen Somali Sprinter Heads to Olympics

Getting to the Olympics is tough for anyone — imagine training in a country in the midst of 17 years of civil war and chaos, where militia men try to prevent you from training. That's the case for 16-year-old Somali sprinter, Samiya Yuusf Omar. Battling her way up from poverty with a single mother, and facing pressure from friends and relatives who tell her that running will prevent her from marrying and from a better life, she's qualified to represent her country in Beijing.

Despite literal roadblocks that prevent her from going to practice, and when she does get to it, training at a track pocked with mortar holes, Samiya runs through all of the insults and warnings. She may come by her speed naturally; to see how,


Samiya's mother was a national-level athlete before Samiya's father died. Now Samiya says she is just proud to run for her flag. She says, "I don't care if I win right now. But I am happy to represent my country within this big event. . .I think right now I'm sure I'm on my way to a bright future because I can run with many all the way down."

This might not be the only Games you see her in, either. She's got plans, "I don't think it makes a difference whether I win a good title in the coming Olympic Games or the next," she says with a grin.

Watch for Samiya, and other World Class athletes we'll be profiling leading up to the Games, at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.


Join The Conversation
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Oh that's the worst one Lilkimbo!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
We saw that one for the first time last night. My husband and I both teared up. We were both athletes and are firm believers in sports tears!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Me too, blues! The one where he and his father finish together...I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Anyone seen those Olympics commercials with Morgan Freeman narrating? They get me choked up every time! I'm a sucker for inspirational Olympics stories...
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
This is definately inspiring. Lilkimbo, I too remember that swimmer! Hadn't he just learned to swim a few years before or something like that? He was awesome!
lcterp lcterp 8 years
This is so amazing!!! I love it when people from countries who are at severe disadvantages persevere and get to the world stage, in any context. They deserve to be there just as much as the pimped-out multi-million dollar athletes from the richer countries.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 8 years
What an inspirational story.... I wish her luck! -- lilkimbo - I remember that moment too. I still get teary-eyed thinking about that.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
What an excellent story of perseverance and heart! Thank you!
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 8 years
Kudos for her courage. Prayers for her safety. And prayers for her to win a medal.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I remember at the last summer Olympics there was a swimmer who was the only athlete from his country. He wore a plain Speedo instead of one of the advanced bodysuits like the other swimmers. He also finished well behind all of the other swimmers in his heat. However, it was such a struggle for him to get there that the audience gave him a standing ovation. Human interest stories are one of my favorite parts of sports, so I love the Olympics.
sw33tlovin sw33tlovin 8 years
wow. stories like these always inspire me. she's so brave to represent her country when it seems like even the people close to her don't support her. it always surprises me how someone can have so much faith in representing their country when the majority of the people don't understand her struggle. amazing! i love the olympics, so i'll be watching for her.
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