The Olympic opening ceremony is just hours away and the political fever is at its boiling point.
Lopez Lomong, a 23 year old athlete, in the 1,500 meter race will be the US flag bearer leading the US team. He was chosen on Wednesday by his fellow teammates as he has conquered tremendous hurdles to get to where he is today.
Lopez Lomong was one of the "lost boys of Sudan" a group of 3,800 refugees who were resettled in the USA. Lamong had been fleeing the civil war, which crippled the country from 1991 to 2005. He was six year old and fleeing with his family across the unforgiving terrain in Southern Sudan, when he became separated from them and ended up in a Kenyan refugee camp where he remained for 10 years. Since then unrelated violence has ignited in the Darfur region of Western Sudan . Lopez has become a member of Team Darfur, a group of athletes who are committed to raising awareness about this ongoing violence . The Teams Darfur co-founder, speed skater gold medalist Joey Cheek, was denied a visa by the Chinese government.
China has been reprimanded for not pressurizing Sudan, its trading partner, to end the constant bloodshed in the Darfur region.
In light of these issues, George Clooney, an Oscar winning actor and a brand ambassador for Omega watches, has urged Omega to voice its disapprovals of China's foreign policy in Sudan. Omega is one of the 12 worldwide Olympic partners for the Beijing Olympic games. Omega has been the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932.
George Clooney spoke to them for over a year in regards to Darfur.
However the chief executive of the Swatch Group, Nicholas Hayek, told BBC: :We have discussed this issue with Mr. Clooney and we fully respect Mr. Clooney's strong engagement in the good cause and share his opinion, especially concerning Darfur. We're proud to work with a person who has such high ethical views, but Swatch Group Policy is not to get involved in politics, because it wouldn't serve the cause of sport, which is one of the most noble human endeavors for creating understanding and peace all over the world.
"Swatch's stance is not new, Hyak continued, our role, with 300 on-site timekeepers, was always clear of politics. Thats why," he said, "it was in Moscow during the 1980 Olympic, despite a boycott by Western Countries after the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, and why we provided our services to the athletes during the 1984 Olympic games in Los-Angeles which were boycotted by the then-communist bloc."
Swatch Group owns Omega.
Hyak has a point. Time is beyond politics.
In honor of the 2008 Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Omega has created an Olympic Collection Beijing. The Omega Seamaster XXIX Limited Edition, inspired by the 1956 Seamaster XVI Melbourne. This Luxury Watch will be released in limited numbers: 88 numbered watches will be released daily for the 17 days of the Olympics, from August 8 to August 24. After the Olympics this watch will no longer be available.