Akeem Haynes

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  • Canadian

If there was a perfect word to describe Akeem it would be perseverance,

Born in Savlamar, Jamaica, Akeem didn’t have much of an advantage from the beginning.  With limited options and tragic events happening early in life, he moved to Canada with his mother seeking a better life.  However, they fell into tough times and struggled to find stability.  In a span of five months, they moved seven different times and eventually found themselves homeless in the middle of winter when Akeem was 13. 

Down but not out, with the help of some friends, they were able to get back on their feet.  Akeem became involved in sports, mainly football and track and field. Akeem excelled both on the field and on the track and won many different awards.   In the 11th grade, he started to gain offers from Division I schools in the United States.

Nevertheless, Akeem’s path to becoming a NCAA Division I student-athlete was not smooth.  After taking the S.A.T three times and the A.C.T. once, Akeem failed to get the scores he needed.   In hindsight, though, none of this mattered.  Akeem was ruled automatically ineligible due to a NCAA violation with his ninth-grade math class.

You would think all of this adversity on top of having multiple learning disabilities would’ve stopped Akeem from furthering his education.  But quitting has never been an option for Akeem.  He attended Barton Community College in the fall of 2010.  Two years later he would go on to make his first Canadian Olympic Team and earn All-American honors, becoming a national champion and earning a full athletic scholarship to The University of Alabama.

Through perseverance, a resilient mindset and a stubborn attitude to succeed, Akeem has become a 2x Olympian (2012 & 2016), helping Canada bring home an Olympic Bronze Medal at the Rio Olympic Games.

Life happens to you, but what you do next is how you respond. In you’re response is your power.