"At the end I
didn't feel tired," said Akii. "At first I thought it wasn't the final.
I had energy for another race."
He sat back from
the table and folded his hands over a pushed-out stomach. "Now I am
resting," he said. "Enjoying."
around downtown Kampala. Perhaps two of every five people we passed raised a
thumb or eyebrow at Akii, usually with a deferential greeting. Ugandans don't
seem to care about autographs. Akii's adulation is therefore far less
oppressive than it might be.
"It is good
you came when you did," he said. "In two days I am going to Addis
Ababa, and then to Paris."
you were resting."
"Oh, I have
no races. I am just going...." He laughed and got his arms, elbows, wrists
and fingers tangled together in a child's gesture of shyness. "I am just
going to be famous."
"How much has
your life changed since the Olympics?"
much. The changes have been coming since 1970, when I first represented Uganda.
My promotion was based in part on running. In the last two years I have been
able to support my family...."
minute. I forgot to ask. Are you married?"
"I have a
fianc�e," he said. "And a baby, one year. But when I say family I mean
my mother and brothers. I have eight brothers in school. American colleges
offer me scholarships, but I can't afford to go because my brothers need