Dieudonne Lamothe: Haitian Inspiration Found!!!

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Reply to Msg 6724

At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the men's 5,000 metre race was expected to be dominated by "Flying Finn" Lasse Viren, and indeed Viren did win the race, in a time of 13:24.76.

But in the preliminary heats, a plucky Haitian runner named Dieudonne Lamothe actually led the field after the first lap. Unfortunately, he quickly grew tired and finished last, a full five minutes after the other runners had finished.

His time, 18:50.07, was his slowest ever recorded in the Olympics given he has won many competitions before.

Yet that day, he finished last against the odds that many have presumed he might have collapse or likemany other competitors often do when they realize or come face with reality which is to stop running; but not Lamothe, he persevered and finished.

"As long as you made in the Stadium, you know truly in your heart you have given it your all, your best 100%.

For Haiti, I have given it my all like my life depended on it" said Dieudnone Lamothe.

In 1984, Lamothe represented his country again, this time in the marathon.

Again, he finished last, running a respectable but unremarkable 2:52.18. It was later revealed that Haitian dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier had threatened to kill him if he did not complete the race. In 1988, two years after Duvalier had been forced to flee into exile, Lamothe ran 2:16.15 in the Olympic marathon in Seoul.

He finished 20th, and still holds two Haitian national records: 2:14.22 for the marathon, also set in 1988, and 15:33.26 for the 5,000 metres, set in 1989. I suppose freedom from fear is a huge training boost.

(As an added note of trivia, Lamothe went on to win the Long Island Marathon in 1996.)

For more of the "Worst, But Best" Olympic performances, see this page. "Worst, but Best" is a loaded term, though.

These athletes completed their events, when for most, dropping out or not competing at all would have saved them some embarrassment (although not, sadly, for Dieudonne Lamothe).

National pride or just individual pride to be competing at the Olympic Games has to count for something.

Wilgeens Rosenberg, March 17 2008, 8:01 PM

Topic: Dieudonne Lamothe: Haitian Racer Pride Found.

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At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the men’s 5,000 metre race was expected to be dominated by “Flying Finn” Lasse... read more >
Wilgeens Rosenberg, 17-Mar-08 8:01 pm


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