By Frida Ghitis:
(CNN) — If you’ve been mesmerized by the drama, like millions of other viewers watching coverage of the Olympic Games, you have heard the most heroic, inspirational stories of athletes reaching the pinnacle of international competition. Or, at least you think you have.
The truth is American viewers are missing out on the best of the Games.
Coverage of the Olympics in the United States understandably focuses on American athletes. That is as it should be, but not to this degree. By concentrating mainly on Americans’ stories, the NBC network is depriving U.S. viewers of some of the most fascinating, moving and exciting aspects of the Olympics.
How much have you heard, for example, about Guor Marial, who marched in the opening ceremony under the banner of “Independent Olympic Athletes“?Marial became a marathoner after running for his life since he was a young boy in Sudan, growing up in the middle of one of the deadliest wars of the 20th century. He learned to run as he fought to escape from those who killed his siblings and relatives and later kidnapped and enslaved him. Imagine such a story of tragedy and redemption, from slavery to triumph.
His life is a most unbelievable odyssey, culminating at the Olympic Games. His parents live in a village with no electricity or running water. He hasn’t spoken to them in years and hopes someone will get word to them to try to get to a television to watch their son.
It’s fine to cheer for the Americans, but how about a cheer for Marial? There’s one who deserves to become a star — and one who should have NBC’s cameras following him.
His is not the only fascinating story at these Games.