Black History Month In Canada… Bruny Surin

Bruny Surin, emigrated from Haiti to Quebec at the age of seven. He became an Olympic runner and gold medalist along with relay teammate Donovan Bailey.

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Bruny Surin closeup giving a 'thumbs up'.

Bruny Surin – Olympic Athlete

Bruny Surin, athlete (b at Cap Haïtien, Haiti, 12 July 1967). Surin was just seven years old when he immigrated to Québec. At the age of 17, he took an interest in the long jump and the triple jump. As a member of the Canadian team, he finished 15th in the long jump at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. However, the 100 m sprint would be the defining event of his career.

At the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, he finished 3rd in the 100 m and 7th in the long jump. Surin placed 4th in the 100 m at his second Olympic Games in 1992, missing the podium by five one-hundredths of a second. After winning the 100 m sprint at the 1994 Jeux de la francophonie [Francophonie Games], Surin would go on to place second at the 1995 world championships.

Surin and his teammates won the gold medal in the 4 x 100 m relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games after dominating the race at the 1995 world championships. The Canadian team would successfully defend its title at the 1997 world championships.

He became the Canadian 100 m champion in 1998 with a time of 9.89 seconds, his fastest up until then. The highlight of his career came in 1999 when he ran the 100 m in under 10 seconds six times. Three of these times were at the world championships. In the final, he recorded a personal best with a time of 9.84 seconds, winning silver and missing the gold medal won by Maurice Greene by four one-hundredths of a second.

In 2009, a biography co-written by Bruny Surin and Saïd Khalil entitled Bruny Surin, le lion tranquille was published by Éditions Libre Expression in Montreal. The book covers Bruny Surin recounting 17 years of his sports career. In the book, Surin criticizes doping, describing it as a gangrene that ails athletics and all other sports.

His father lost his family in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. His oldest daughter is a professional tennis player and attends Penn State. His youngest daughter is a professional track and field athlete and recently committed to the University of Connecticut.

Founded in 2003, the Bruny Surin Foundation’s mission is to promote and encourage the adoption of a healthy lifestyle amongst youth in order to fight school dropout.

In addition to organizing seminars featuring well-known public figures for students and underprivileged children, the Bruny Surin Foundation coordinates training camps to encourage youngsters to adopt an active way of life.

The Foundation also provides direct financial support to elite athletes through annual contributions to the Fondation de l’athlète d’excellence du Québec. Thanks to the FBS Gala and the “Demi-Marathon Oasis de Blainville”, $1.5 million has been raised over the past 15 years.

Donovan Bailey (L) and Olympic teammate Bruny Surin (R) training for the relay.
Donovan Bailey (L) and Olympic teammate Bruny Surin (R) training for the relay.

Today’s Sources:

* CBC News Canada                                                               http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/black-history-month/

* The Canadian Encyclopedia                                                        http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/bruny-surin/

Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (http://fiorabooks.com), to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

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