NEW: see videos of all the Lao events at the Olympic Games 2012 here.
The 2012 London Olympic games have officially begun. The opening ceremony was viewed live on television by an estimated 4 billion people around the world including many in Laos, where despite a total of only 3 athletes participating in the games, the Olympic spirit lives on.
Regardless of wins or losses, Laos can be proud to have already contributed to the 2012 games in early July, when Ms. Vadsana Sinthavong, an employee of the United Nations World Food Programme in Laos, was invited to become an Olympic torchbearer. Ms. Sinthavong was flown to the UK in order to bear the Olympic Torch for 300 meters through Birmingham early on a Sunday morning with the support of cheering onlookers. Ms. Sinthavong hopes that her brief stint with the Olympic Torch will help to highlight the problem of global child hunger and the work that the WFP does to alleviate this.
Meet the 3 Lao Atheletes in the Olympic Games:
Lao athlete Kilakone Siphonexay narrowly missed the 100-meter qualifying time of 10.24 seconds but was entered into the games by special dispensation. His personal best time is 10.73 seconds, earning him the title of ’fastest man in Laos’. The 23 year old athlete is 1.68m tall and weighs 63 kg. Kilakone Siphonexay will compete in the Men’s 100m on Saturday, August 4.
Swimmer Phathana Inthavong will compete in the Men’s 50m Freestyle event on Thursday, August 2. He is the youngest male swimmer to compete in the 2012 games at just 15 years old. Phathana competed in the 14th FINA world championships where he achieved his personal best time of 28.94, in 2011.
Lao Su Su!
The National Olympic Committee of Lao was formed in 1975 and recognized in 1979. Laos first competed in the Summer Games of 1980 in Moscow and has competed in a total of seven Summer Games. Laos has competed in a total of 22 distinct events in 5 sports but has yet to win a medal. Not surprisingly, Laos has never competed in the Winter Games.
Laos was hoping for a dispensation to compete in Tae Kwon Do this year but unfortunately did not receive it. Luckily the country was able to send 3 athletes; two runners and one swimmer.