Haitian Olympians Prep For Paris With Hope For Their Country In Mind

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Haitian Olympians are fighting for more than gold medals as they prepare for the Summer Games in Paris.

As Haiti deals with ongoing political turmoil, its athletes yearn to spark hope for their native people. One in particular, Pierre Yevenal Stephan, has plans to make history before the games begin.

Stephan seeks to enter the Paris Olympics as the first gymnast to ever represent Haiti. Of his potentially historic appointment, Stephan is eager to showcase his country’s talent in the discipline.

“Being the first Haitian gymnast, this is still Haiti’s first participation in the Olympic Games in this discipline, and it would be an honor for me to take part and go down in the history of my sport and my country,” explained Stephan in an interview shared by NBC News. “I’m very close to taking part in the Olympics. That’s why I’m working hard in training to be ready for any eventuality and not to be ridiculed when I take part.”

Another Olympic hopeful, Charlotte Boyer, must train in her preferred sport of fencing outside her home country due to the violence. Although raised in France, Boyer’s birthplace and ancestry lies in Haiti.

With this in mind, if she qualifies, her decision to be part of the Haitian Olympic team remains. However, her own hopes to return are up in the air as the nation’s insecurity continues.

“It’s been a long time since I returned to Haiti,” explained the 22-year-old. “And because of the current situation, I think it will be even more complicated.”

Haiti has faced rampant gang violence, as the gang leaders overran its government and caused chaos for citizens. Despite some strides made, such as the reopening of its airport, the nation struggles with the political upheaval. Furthermore, food and medical shortages still endanger the lives of its most vulnerable people.

Despite this internal strife, Haitian athletes strive to bring gold and glory back home as beacons of hope for their people.

RELATED CONTENT:Boston Preschool Creates First Haitian Creole Dual-Language Program

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