Diasporian Athletes at the Penn Relays
The Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the U.S. and has always been hosted by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. This year marked the 122nd anniversary of the Penn Relays with 22,000 men and women of all ages from all over the world representing high schools, colleges, and professional track stars competing from April 28-30, with almost 100,000 spectators cheering them on.
Track and field gives athletes an opportunity to travel the world.
"What I love about track is that it helps you travel the world and meet different people and different cultures," said Raheem Chambers, a high school senior from St. Jago High School in Jamaica. "Track is the biggest thing in Jamaica, like now in the States everyone wants to play basketball or football; in Jamaica it is track."
Athletes train for years, all year round, through exercise and diet.
"I'm here to experience the Penn Relays. I run here for the University of Tennessee," said Layla White, freshman at University of Tennessee, "I like running because it's one of the only sports where you can push your body to its potential. It's such a great experience to run with so many people passionate about track."
This competition is seen as a stepping stone to even higher competitions.
"My goal was to get to the Penn Relays, and I did it. After I go to the regional and then state meets, I want to make it to the Olympics," said Tyrique Devero-Smith, a West Philadelphia native and a senior at Boys Latin High School in Philadelphia.
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