Kenyan-born runner Hillary Bor won’t be content with just wearing the red, white and blue at the Olympics.
He’s willing to protect his new country, too.
The sergeant in the U.S. Army heads to Rio this month while his unit — which includes his older brother — is already deployed to Afghanistan. Bor stayed behind this time, but it could be his turn soon.
That’s the reality for Bor and three other runners of Kenyan descent who’ve taken a unique path to the Olympics through enlisting in the Army, earning U.S. citizenship, training with the military branch’s World Class Athlete Program and making Team USA.
They understand the risks. They’ve pledged allegiance to America — as soldiers to defend and now as runners hoping to bring home an Olympic medal.
“I might be told tomorrow, ‘Hey, pack your things, we’re deploying.’ I can’t say, ‘I have the Olympics coming up,’ said Army specialist Paul Chelimo, who’s from Iten, Kenya, and earned a spot in the 5,000 meters at U.S. Trials in July. “Whatever happens from now to the Olympics, into the future, I’m here to follow the orders.”
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Image courtesy of AP