The Ballad of the Indpendents

Credits: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images (borrowed from the article)

Only appearing for just forty seconds on that opening night and already the web is ablaze for their antics and spirit that felt unrivalled from world superpowers to small nations you just heard about. Who am I talking about? Well if you read the bottom half of my last post and checking the trends around Tumblr, then you already know who they are, Philpine Van Aanholt, Reginald de Windt, Guor Marial and Liemarvin Bonavacia. They are the Independent Olympic Athletes or just “The Independents”.

Philipine van Aanholt via

Rocking themselves into the track and led by LOCOG volunteer/flagbearer Brooklyn Kerlin. The IOA‘s became the highlight of the Parade of Nations during last nights events. So who are they? Well basically around, the independent athletes are those who under special instances come from nations that are either newly formed or going through a political transition at the time of the next games and renders their NOC or National Olympic Committee obsolete. In the case of the three athletes shown they are from former Netherlands Antilles which dissolved along with Curacao and became special principalities under the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The one not seen appears to be the star of the team Guor Marial who is still in Flagstaff waiting for his visa so he can run in the men’s marathon on the 12th of August.  Marial hails from the newly formed state of South Sudan which gained its independence last summer. I liked this end of the definition from that fits them perfectly:

All athletes competing individually compete under a standard Olympic flag, representing their status as non-aligned global athletes and true representations of the Olympic spirit.

In a way when you think about it, they’re under the Olympic flag, the symbol of the global spirit of competition (if you overlook controversy and occasional fuck-ups). They really do represent the global spirit that they embody in the games. In terms of clothing I was pulled in for these items and I got to say I love them so much, I want the jacket or at least the scarf.

Well it’s been a while now and after the trends on tumblr came drawing down to a close and a scant few new news articles popped up on them it was time of the games and as much as all the competition came along all the chants of them winning a medal seemed high. So did they?
…Well no. This was expected, but the spirit of them still lives on in each of the especially Guor who had finally made it to London to run in the marathon. In the closing ceremonies, the only scant mention of their place is the flag bearer who was carrying the Olympic flag walking in. Though they have not one any medals and the streams have now come to a halt. Let it be known that these four individuals will forever be remembered for being what we called them: Global Athletes. Maybe in the future when someone will stand up and fight for the right for people regardless of nation to participate in the games regardless of the conditions prior to the ceremonies. The Olympic spirit cannot be deterred by things such as conflict, not being good enough for their national committees or other stuff like that.

Well… there’s the new wave coming in Sochi 2014. So in closing…
“We are all Independent Olympic Athletes”


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