Pascale Delaunay: Haiti Jumps for Gold at the 2012 Olympic Games

This month Haitianbeatz highlights Pascale Delaunay, young Haitian-American track and field athlete, who is on a quest to represent Haiti at the 2012 Olympic Game in England as a triple jumper. Interviewed by Haitianbeatz, Delaunay speaks of her desire to make Haiti stand out at the London Games. Here are a few segments of the interview:

Nadege Fleurimond: Thank you for taking the time to seat with HaitianBeatz (HB) Ms. Pascale Delaunay. Especially with your hectic schedule. We will talk a bit later about that schedule, but for now, let’s give the HB readers some basic information about you. We at Haitianbeatz are well aware of your background, but please share a bit about yourself with our readers.

Pascale Delaunay: Thank you for having me. Quick background about me I was born in France, but I grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. My father was a general in the Haitian army so during the coup in 1991, I was 9 we left for the states. Once we came to the states we bounced around from place to place, NY, several different places in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island then we finally settled in California. I have a big family so that definitely helped with all the moving we did. I finished my high school in CA, and then I took a track scholarship to the University of Rhode Island. I was very active in sports but like all Haitian parents mine stressed the importance of education. So for me the most important thing was to use my athletic ability to get a top notch education. That was one of the reasons why I chose URI; they had the program I was looking for.  I completed a dual degree in Electrical engineering and French. My college track career was full of ups and downs due to injuries but I had a fair amount of success. After I graduated I started my career as a systems engineer with Cisco Systems, one of the top tech companies in the world. I’ve been with them ever since, they have a great working environment which has allowed me to train and work at the same time. So I’ve been fortunate enough to have a career that up until now has allowed me to fund the majority of my training. I  guess I could have just focused on my career and be done with athletics but I felt like I had some unfinished business, so that is why when I came back to California for work I started training again to make my Olympic dream come true. At 29 years old I may not have too many more opportunities to make it happen so I want to give it my best shot to get on the London track.

NF: Who inspires you? What keeps you going?

PD: I’m inspired by a lot of different things and a lot of different people. I learned early in life not to look up to any one person, you put too much into that person. So instead I aspire to character traits in people. What keeps me going is the pursuit of excellence in everything that I do. I know that may sound hokey but that is the way I live. I like to challenge myself so that I can grow as a person and if I decide to do something I want to do it to the best of my abilities. I am still pursuing my Olympic dream because this is something that I think can make a difference. I look at all the other Caribbean countries having success in athletics and I know that with structure we can have the same. I remember what it was like in Haiti being a girl and going back since much remains the same in regards to the status of women. I’m fortunate that I was able to get an education, in a male dominated field no less, and pursue my athletics. I feel that until women and children gain rise from their status in Haiti we will continue to struggle. So my hope is that with me being involved and having success more girls will get involved in sports, more children in general will want to represent Haiti. I’ve met many Haitian American athletes that represent the US. I don’t blame them for making that choice because the reality of the situation is we don’t have a solid foundation that fosters development or support right now. There are several great athletes right now that are representing Haiti, we hope to have more success on the international stage so that we can instill pride in representing Haiti, it’s not as glamorous or as easy as representing USA but if enough of us set the foundation and the precedence of success we hope more and more young Haitians will do like the Jamaicans. They go to school in the US but they still represent Jamaica. So I’m prepared to do some heavy lifting to help pave the way to have more Haitian athletes. [. . .]

NF: How does it feel representing the country of your parents’ birth? You were born in France, raised partially in Haiti, but mainly the United States, so why Haiti?

PD: I have and will always consider myself to be Haitian , I asked my parents why was I born in France when they were living in Haiti at the time and my older brother was born in Haiti, they told me it was because they wanted me to have an opportunity in a richer country. Well, I never got to do that in France but I did take advantage of the benefits of another rich country the US. I am an American citizen but my culture is Haitian, I speak Creole with my family, I eat rice and bean, bouillon and lambi, I listen to Kompa that is who I am I don’t know how to be anyone else. So I will always be Haitian-American, I have not forgotten my native country; I have big hopes and big dreams for it which is why I want to be successful.

For full article and interview, see http://www.haitianbeatz.com/hb-interviews/artist-spotlight/836-pascale-delaunay-haiti-jumps-for-gold-at-the-2012-olympic-games.html

Also see http://advance.uri.edu/quadangles/fall2005/story10.htm

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