Eric Jankstrom meets Lopez Lomong

Photo by Eric Jankstrom/2013

I had the privilege of meeting Lopez Lomong in March of 2013. The assignment for The Weather Channel, a web series feature on athletes who overcame incredible adversity called I Am Unstoppable, took me to Portland Oregon to meet the famed runner and former refugee.

Interviews can often be delicate situations but in this case the task at hand was incredibly difficult, to walk into a strangers home and ask him to take me through every excruciating detail of his incredible life story, needless to say I was a bit apprehensive as to how I would be received. Lopez greeted me at the door with his signature warm smile and in that moment let me not only into his home but also into his life. Over the next two days we talked about his entire life story from the experience of being abducted during the Civil War to becoming a citizen and carrying the United States flag in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He took us to film at the training camp and even ran for us in the Oregon forests outside his home.

What left the biggest impression on me from my time working with Lopez was not only the incredible strength and resilience that he possessed but also a true love for life. Lopez is incredibly funny, a gifted athlete and a proud American. He has an unbelievably positive outlook on life even after all he has endured.

Lopez showed me that being a refugee does not limit what you can achieve or the person that you can become. He cannot simply be defined as a Lost Boy of the Sudan; he is a two time Olympian, an author, a survivor and also a friend.

Eric Jankstrom is Senior Producer at Efran films ( where he produced a profile on Lopez Lomong. 

To learn more about Lopez Lomong, go to

Watch The Weather Channel feature I Am Unstoppable on Lopez Lomong:





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