Samyr made the decision to represent Haiti with the understanding that his doing so would take him down a different path than if he was to take a stab at representing the US, and knowing full well that success in a Haitian uniform would have significantly more impact. Since making his first international appearance at the 2007 Pan American Games, he’s been to six World Championships (three indoors and three outdoors), another Pan American Games and one Olympic Games, winning multiple regional medals along the way. He’s spent several years ranked among the top ten in world but each day he trains harder than the one prior in attempt to make his family, his supporters, his sponsors and Haiti proud and to continue his explorations of and improvement in the triple jump; one centimeter at a time.
Off the track, he graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, penned a book somewhat inspired by his dealing with the task of balancing law school with an international athletics career, and founded Jump for Haiti in an attempt to make a tangible impact in the lives of children in Haiti. He’s still very much the same nerd who loved chess, comic books, debate and was a member of the math team but now he truly enjoy reaching and teaching people, whether through his foundation or his public speaking efforts. He believes in the power of setting and contemplating one’s goals on a regular basis but there was a time when he could never have imagined having the success that he’s had thus far as an athlete, or the platform that he now has to positively influence people’s lives. Still, there isn’t a day that goes by where he doesn’t take stock in his journey thus far and take a second to appreciate it and the people who have helped him along the way.
Although born and raised in the United States, Jump for Haiti founder Samyr Laine always felt an inextricable link to the country of his parents’ birth. Samyr’s first visit to Haiti didn’t come until 2011, a year after the devastating earthquake of 2010. By this time he had already represented the country as an international track and field athlete for several years, but it was this trip that acted as the impetus for the establishment of Jump for Haiti.
Spending time with the children at an orphanage in northern Haiti and seeing the destruction in Port-au-Prince for himself was both a humbling and extremely moving experience and he accepted the challenge to do more to make a tangible difference in the lives of Haitian children (principally in Haiti itself, but also those in need in the United States).
He founded Jump for Haiti in an attempt to make a tangible impact in the lives of children in Haiti.
The access Samyr had to sports programs and school sports while growing up in the U.S. played a significant role in his eventually advancing all the way to the Olympic triple jump finals in London in 2012.
He thus envisioned Jump for Haiti playing such a role for young Haitian athletes of the future. There is no overstating the lessons that can learned through sports and there is also no denying the strong relationship between sports and education. As such, Samyr worked hard to bring Jump for Haiti into existence upon returning home from the London Olympics and since 2013 the foundation has been working hard to provide Haitian children with some of the opportunities that he benefited so greatly from. Through its programs Jump for Haiti emphasizes hands on work with children in Haiti to expose them to track and field, encourage the learning of some of sports’ most valuable lessons, emphasize the ties between sports and education, provide access to quality coaching and development and counsel the children on competing at various levels.