A Big Leap for Sports in Haiti

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 10, 2012

Above: Haiti’s Samyr Laine

By the Caribbean Journal staff

What amounted to a distance of about a metre kept Haiti from its first medal since 1928 on Thursday.

But while triple jumper Samyr Laine didn’t end up taking home hardware for Haiti in London, his work, and that of the other Olympians wearing red and blue, represented a significant leap for the country’s sporting hopes, just over two years after the earthquake that forever changed the country.

Laine, the Harvard graduate who has written a Haiti Olympic Diary for Caribbean Journal, was part of a five-member contingent representing Haiti in the Games, including Moise Joseph, Marlena Wesh, Jeffrey Julmis and Linouse Desravines.

One of Laine’s highlights Thursday came the prior to his first jump in the final, when he raised his arms and roused the London crowd into spirited cheering for Haiti.

He had spoken by Haiti President Michel Martelly by phone Wednesday.

“Haiti is with you until the final victory,” Martelly told Laine before the match.

But the performance of Laine and the Haitian contingent brings hope to the country’s Olympic programme, which Martelly said must be improved.

Laine has expressed a desire to help Haiti improve its athletic infrastructure, with his plans for “Jump for Haiti,” a charity he’s developing to help cultivate the sporting culture in the country.

Martelly echoed the call.

“In addition to being examples for Haitian youth, I want these athletes to become role models for inspiration and the new generation,” Martelly said this week.

With a a series of leaps, some fierce punches and mad dashes, Haiti’s Olympic team did just that in London.

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