The Eritrean-born American pauses to recall his incredible journey.
Olympic silver medalist and 2009 New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi has come a long way.
The highest American finisher in the recent Olympic in London — where he placed fourth — first arrived to the United States on October 21, 1987. He came from war-torn Eritrea with his parents and siblings.
“It was a cultural and financial shock to say the least,” Keflezighi writes on his blog about the milestone. “Furthermore, besides my dad’s limited English, none of us spoke the language. We spent almost two years in Italy, so we could speak Italian. People were mesmerized to see black kids that could speak Italian but not English.”
He goes on to say that his parents were all about education and so Keflezighi’s parents made the family wake up early in order to learn English.
“Nothing is easy” and “nothing will be handed to you” were his parents’ mantra.
These lessons have paid off for Meb, who has cemented his status as one of the most accomplished distance runners in American history.