By Kuhl, Nick on March 21, 2019.
“Life happens to you, but what you do next is how you respond. In your response is your power.”
Before he was a two-time Olympian and a bronze medallist, Akeem Haynes went through many potentially life-altering experiences. But he says he always maintained a positive attitude and kept looking forward.
“I always tell the side B first, because I want you to see what you’re up against – then you decide,” said Haynes, 27, who was the guest speaker for the Lethbridge/Taber KidSport sponsor and friends luncheon Wednesday at the Henderson Lake Golf Club.
“I always make sure I talk about the turmoil and the hard points. The decisions you make day in and day out will affect what side you ultimately lay on. I’ve never heard any individual say there is such thing as too much hope in the world. And I think Kidsport, being an ambassador this year, provides a lot of that through different fields and different events.”
As a member of Canada’s 4×100-metre sprint relay team, Haynes competed at the 2012 Olympics in London, then earned bronze with the team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
At age six, in his birth country of Jamaica, he saw his friend get killed for taking mangos. At age seven, he moved with his family to Yellowknife for several years, then on to Calgary.
At 13, he was homeless for a time.
“For me growing up, I didn’t necessarily have certain expenses to be able to play sports,” said Haynes. “When I played football, I played with one pair of shoes until an individual gave me a pair of shoes to play. I didn’t even know KidSport existed. You don’t know what you don’t know. They’re giving what I wish I had at that time.”
“We try to give everybody an opportunity to participate,” said Malcolm Kano, chair of the Lethbridge/Taber KidSport chapter.
“This event basically is a thank you to our volunteers, donors, sponsors. We always try to bring the pinnacle of an amateur athlete and that’s why we brought in Akeem. We’re always looking for more support because the need for dollars and the number of people that are coming forward wanting to have help, or need help to get involved with sport – this is important.”
KidSport’s Logan Boulet fund has surpassed the $90,000 mark, and they are also gearing up for a “Bottles for Boulet” bottle drive. Further times and information is available at bottlesforboulet.org.
KidSport’s involvement with Leadercast 2019 will take place May 10.
Follow @NKuhlHerald on Twitter