The success story of Guor Marial took another happy turn on February 22, when the Olympic marathoner became a citizen of the United States.
When Marial was eight years old, he fled from a refugee camp in the midst of the Sudanese Civil War. He first escaped to Egypt and then to the United States where he wanted granted refugee status at the age of 16.
Marial began competing in track and field while in high school in New Hampshire and went on to run for Iowa State where he became an All-American athlete.
This year, in the 2012 London Olympic marathon, Marial ran under the Olympic flag. South Sudan has yet to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
Marial's naturalization means that he is both a citizen of South Sudan and the United States. He says he is unsure which nationality he will represent when he competes abroad.
Marial's good fortune continued when he agreed to represent Skechers, the shoe company that also sponsors Meb Keflezighi. The sponsorship allowed Marial to quit his day job working at a group home. He will now tutor high school and middle school students in math, chemistry and physics in the evenings.
Marial will be able to share the good news with his family after he runs the Boston Marathon. When he receives his passport, he will be able to travel back to South Sudan and reunite with his relatives for the first time in 20 years.