Lesotho Olympian Tsepo Ramonene’s Motivation to Run


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This short 51-second commercial is a really clean and quick take on what motivates Lesotho Olympic marathon runner Tsepo Ramonene. There's much more to his story than you see in the short. The 21-year-old lives with his unemployed parents, his twin brother, and his sister in a house without electricity. “I'm happy to go to the Olympics because I want to win a medal for my country,” Ramonene recently told The Guardian. “The Olympics could change my life. Any money I find there, I'll try to build a house.”

Ramonene qualified for the Olympics with a time of 2:16:36, and will be running only his second marathon in London. He is one of five athletes the country is sending to the Games. Three of those athletes, two men and one woman, will be running the marathon. In 2008, the country sent four competitors in the marathon, but all failed to finish. The Guardian points out that Lesotho is one of 80 countries that have not won a medal in the Olympics.

The unemployment rate in the country of about two million people is 45 percent. Roughly three quarters of the population does not have electricity in their homes. The last tally of Internet accounts showed that there were only 76,800 in the entire country.  A medal for one of the athletes would do wonders to raise the country's profile.

For their part, the Lesotho athletes arrived early to England and recently took time out from their training to visit an elementary school. The Guardian has a nice round-up of the athletes and their chances to medal.

—Joe Spring

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