The country of Uganda has placed a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics for the first time since 1972. Olympic athlete Stephen Kiprotich won the gold in the men’s marathon. While Uganda competed and won a medal in the Atlanta games, they hadn’t had a gold to call their own in 40 years.

Upon arrival back home, Kiprotich was greeted like the President with armed guards. He was immediately taken to the head of state for a special reception. Kiprotich’s elderly parents lived in poverty before the Games, but now he is a champion of Uganda. Now being called a savior of Uganda, he, his wife and two children will live a different life going forward.

Running as an underdog competitor with low expectations by the media, Kiprotich had to experience challenges with the steeplechase and middle-distance running competitions before finding his niche in the marathon.

The country wants to make Kiprotich a national hero and he is said to receive a promotion at the prison where he works as a guard. There is also an effort underway to raise $500,000 for his benefit. His win in London has been called a win that united Uganda and has finally given them a role model.

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