Yiech Pur Biel is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency and a member of Drake’s cross country team.
DES MOINES, Iowa — A Drake cross country runner could be one step closer to attending the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Yiech Pur Biel is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency. He fled war-torn South Sudan when he was 10, and eventually made it to a refugee camp in Kenya without his parents.
Pur made history in 2016 by competing for the first Refugee Olympic Team in the 800-meter race at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Now, he’s invited to Beijing, but needs two negative COVID tests to enter the Olympic bubble.
The only problem? There weren’t any approved test sites in Iowa, Pur’s host mom, Katie Mortenson, told GS Labs.
After weeks of paperwork and correspondence with the International Olympic Committee, China eventually approved GS Labs as a test site, according to a spokesperson.
Pur took one COVID test Thursday, and pending the results of a second test, he will be heading to Beijing this weekend.
“Coming from a refugee camp, I cannot believe that I will become an IOC member in few days,” Pur said. “It’s something that I can be proud of, because tomorrow they, one of them, can be in that position and play a role whereby I can be a role model to other people too.”