Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPICS | SPOTLIGHT / THE SHORT
AND SWEET SIDE OF THE GAMES

Stirring Moment For Ramos

September 15, 2000|Associated Press

Not long ago, Victor Ramos was on the run in jungle-swathed hills, hunted by marauding militiamen who had marked him and his family for death.

Today, he'll be carrying the Olympic flag and heading the team from East Timor as it marches into the main stadium just ahead of host Australia to begin the Sydney Games.

"We'll definitely be there," said team leader Frank Fowlie on the eve of the opening ceremony.

The four athletes from the devastated former Indonesian province will wear white uniforms free of any national identification, won't carry a national flag and will compete as "Individual Olympic Athletes."

But thanks to a special International Olympic Committee ruling, only the second of its kind in Olympic history, East Timor is in Sydney although it doesn't yet fulfill criteria for formal Olympic recognition.

Ramos, a former Indonesia boxing champion, almost didn't make it. He and his family had to flee their home in the capital of Dili as pro-Jakarta militias embarked on a campaign of killing and arson following East Timor's vote for independence in August 1999.

Ramos was branded a traitor for his pro-independence stance in the balloting. "I was on a list of people to be killed. They told me, 'You wait. Your day is coming,' "

The 30-year-old lightweight boxer, who won a silver medal at the 1997 Southeast Asian Games, is now a local hero and the standout of the East Timor squad.

But neither he nor his teammates, including two marathoners and a weightlifter, are expected to get anywhere near the victory podium.

"They won't win any medals, but they'll finish the course," Fowlie said.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|