Many Haitians go on to do big things in life. From actors and actresses to philanthropists, scientists, and athletes, there are many famous and accomplished Haitian faces you should know about. Here are six athletes from Haiti and how they found their careers.
When Giovani Bernard’s parents immigrated from Haiti to Florida, they likely didn’t have any clue that their son would go on to become an NFL star. However, their move to the United States and subsequent laundromat business allowed them to send their son to a football-centric high school, where he gained quick fame before committing to the University of North Carolina and then later being drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals, where he currently plays. He finished the 2018 season with 211 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, and 35 receptions.
Andre Michael Berto
This professional boxer is both an American and Haitian citizen, as well as a two-time former welterweight world champion. He’s won championships as an amateur and a professional, even representing the United States in the Boxing World Championships, winning bronze. He then went on to represent his Haitian home in the 2004 Olympics. Like Bernard, Berto’s parents also immigrated to Florida, where Berto would be raised. He has returned to Haiti multiple times, particularly to provide aid following natural disasters.
Barbara Pierre is another Olympian with ties to both Haiti and the United States. Rather than representing Haiti in the Olympics, Pierre represented the United States in track and field, with specialties in the 60-meter and 100-meter dash. At one point, she was known as the fourth-fastest sprinter in the world. She competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics and most recently in the 2015 Pan American Games, setting records and taking home medals.
Wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, Haitian descendant Pierre Garcon was born in New York City to Haitian immigrants from Leogene. Since college, he’s played with an array of different teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. He founded the Helping Hands Foundation, which attempts to create sustainable solutions to some of Haiti’s most prevalent problems.
While Nadine Faustin-Parker may have been born in Belgium, she claims Haiti as her home and represented Haiti three different times in the Summer Olympics, from 2000 to 2008. As a hurdler, she holds the current Haitian record with a personal best time of 12.74 seconds, a feat she accomplished at the 2004 Olympic Games. Additionally, she holds the Haitian record for the 60 meter hurdle at 7.99 seconds (according to Wikipedia).
Naomy Grand’Pierre is yet another Haitian female Olympian. A swimmer, she was the very first female Haitian to compete in this sport. Grand’Pierre holds dual citizenship between Haiti and the United States, but she was born in Montreal.
Learn more about Haiti’s culture and famous citizens, as well as Haiti’s history and Restavek Freedom’s work in this wonderful country, on our blog.