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Airman 1st Class Guor Maker, a dental assistant, is a member of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program, training full time for a spot in the 2020 Olympics July 24 – Aug. 9 in Tokyo as a distance runner.

Prior to joining the Air Force, Maker overcame many hardships and obstacles as a Sudanese slave and then refugee from age 8.

His American journey began in Concord, New Hampshire in 2001, where he learned English and was introduced to running. He went on to win the National High School indoor two-mile title and received a scholarship to Iowa State University. There, he reached All-American status as a student athlete and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

His summer of 2011 graduation coincided with the independence of South Sudan from Sudan.

Following graduation, Maker moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, to train for the 2012 Olympics. He qualified and ran the marathon in the London 2012 games under the Olympic flag. He wasn’t a United States citizen so didn’t qualify to run under the American flag and he refused to compete for Sudan because of the tragedy and turmoil caused by a 50-year struggle for South Sudan’s independence.

South Sudan become a member of the International Olympic Committee in 2015 allowing it to field a team for the next Olympic Games.

Maker carried the South Sudan flag for himself and two of his countrymen during opening ceremonies of the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games.

In 2017 he decided to join the U.S. Air Force to give back to the nation that had given him such support and opportunity.  He graduated from Air Force Basic Training in early 2018 and went on to attend and graduate from dental assistant technical training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

From there he was assigned for a short time with the 59th Dental Squadron, JBSA-Lackland, before being selected for the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program and a permanent change of station move to Colorado Springs, Colorado, training full time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.