Marlena Wesh represents Haiti at Olympic games in London - 2012
One of the barriers to developing Olympic-level athletes from Haiti, is the 2010 earthquake. Thousands of earthquake refugees found shelter at three of Haiti's running tracks. Another problem is the budget. The U.S. Olympic Committee budget is a whopping $170 million, 300% more than Haiti's, a mere $400,000.
Four Haitian-Americans, supported by a well-funded budget, will represent Haiti. One of them, Marlena Wesh, a 21 year-old field and track athlete, will compete in the Sprinter Event, in the 200- and 400-meter runs. Marlena, proud to represent her country, tells the media, "I still feel Haitian even if I wasn't born there." She is currently finishing her last year at Clemson University.
In past Olympic Games, Haiti has distinguished itself, bringing home Bronze in 1924 and Silver in 1928. Haitian Dieudonne Lamothe, a marathon runner, became the first athlete from Haiti to compete in four Olympiads. Alain Jean-Pierre, Secretary General of the Haitian Olympic Committee, says the continuing challenge for them is attracting funding. But he ends on an upbeat note, declaring, ". . . I think we'll have two athletes in the finals."
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