Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

Gold Medal Twin Olympian Calvin Harrison Homeless…What Went Wrong?

Former Gold Medal Olympian Calvin Harrison...currently homeless

Former Gold Medal Olympian Calvin Harrison...currently homeless

Calvin Harrison (born January 20, 1974) was a former Olympic gold medalist, famously winning the 4×400 relay with his twin brother Alvin, and legendary sprinter Michael Johnson, at the 2000 Summer Olympic games that were held in Sydney,Australia.  At the 2000 Olympics, Alvin Harrison and Calvin Harrison made history by becoming the first twins ever to compete and win Olympic gold medals together on the same relay team since the inception of the modern Olympic Games.

In fact ,Calvin Harrison  ran the third leg of the 4×400 meter relay, eventually handing the baton off to Michael Johnson for the gold.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=calvin+harrison&iid=3934683″ src=”4/0/e/e/Michael_Johnson_Antonio_6231.jpg?adImageId=8236841&imageId=3934683″ width=”234″ height=”157″ /]Calvin stood right next to Johnson on the podium when they were presented with their gold medal.

After those great Olympics, Calvin and Alvin were the toast of the town, as they were celebrated for being the champions that they are. America consistently loves our gold medal winners, and all the riches that go along with that prestigious title, were bestowed upon them.

The brothers, who had been homeless for a time while growing up, as well as when they attended college, had a compelling story to tell about believing in yourself, and overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve success.

They wrote a book entitled Go to Your Destiny”, which debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2001, and is a very inspirational tome that is designed to motivate people to achieve their success, even if the current situation appears to be impossible to overcome. http://www.amazon.com/Go-Your-Destiny-Alvin-Harrison/dp/0786867884

I read it, and I can attest to the fact that it is an awesome story that is the hallmark of American success.

This is why the news concerning Calvin’s current homelessness is distressing.

Local San Diego news is reporting that Calvin Harrison is broke and homeless living on the streets of San Diego with his wife and 5 children. To be accurate, they are currently living in a homeless shelter, after being on the streets.

Watch video report here- http://www.webcastr.com/videos/news/gold-medal-olympian-now-homeless.html

Luckily for them, after sleeping on the streets, they were able to get accepted into a homeless shelter that allows families to stay together,which many do not. Calvin’s youngest child is just 5 months old.

Calvin’s current dilemma started with him testing positive for a banned stimulant in 2004, which got him a two-year suspension from track and field events, and he also had to return all of his medals and prize money he won from the events that he tested positive in.

He also was stripped of the Olympic gold medal from the Sydney Olympic, when it was discovered that a team-mate on the relay team, Antonio Pettigrew, admitted to taking banned steroids to assist him in the competition. The whole team was asked to return the medals, but Calvin gave his to his father.All of the other members of that relay team returned their medals, even though none of them had taken steroids.[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=calvin+harrison&iid=3934682″ src=”9/6/3/e/Michael_Johnson_Antonio_507e.jpg?adImageId=8236866&imageId=3934682″ width=”234″ height=”155″ /]

Calvin subsequently spent his whole life’s savings on a failed legal battle to clear his name, which he lost. He was not allowed to compete in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece due to the suspension, and in turn, lost the ability to make a living doing what he knows best, and that is track and field.

Ironically, the substance that he was banned for taking, is no longer on the illegal substance list, since it is a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications.

Calvin, faced with mounting bills, a wife, and children to support, did what men do, and that is going to work.

He traveled the country working in construction jobs, and eventually landed a steady job as a personal trainer at a gym in Arizona, that supported him at the level to pay his rent and to feed his family.

Due to the recession, he was laid off from that job,…and like many Americans today, he was unable to pay his rent, and soon found his family evicted and on the street.

They moved to San Diego in the hopes of finding steady employment, but soon found out that it is as bad in California as it is in Arizona.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=homeless+shelter&iid=7341739″ src=”0/9/a/2/As_Brazils_Economy_2d35.jpg?adImageId=8236926&imageId=7341739″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]With no income or job,they are currently homeless, and in need of assistance. He has said that in the past, he was too proud to ask anyone for help, but seeing his family in this position has made him desperate.

Calvin  made the following statement to NBC San Diego…”I’m in a position now where I do need to ask, and I’m not afraid of the pride being in the way,” Harrison said. “Before I was. I didn’t want to ask, wanted to do it on my own, but I’m in a position now where I do need some help.”

To read the full story about Calvin’s dilemma, click on this link to NBC San Diego… http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports/Gold-Medal-Olympian-Now-Homeless-79007597.html

This is a hard story to report on, because there are so many people who are in this position because of the recession that never had the opportunities that Calvin had, even though he had a challenging time to get there, but I do not have all the facts about his case, and it is not my place to judge his actions.

I am certain that Calvin would make different choices in retrospect, we all could say that, but now he has to deal with the future.The future for his wife and minor children rest on what he is able to do next.

His wife Charlotte made this statement in reference to their future…”I’m just hoping for an awesome job and to be able to get a house,” Charlotte said. “I know it’s big hopes, but we’re just dreaming of a house and a place for our kids to grow up in.”

I do not know what type of marketable skills the two of them have outside of the track and field game, but if they do get assistance, hopefully they will get help with some job training so they can develop some marketable skills that will support their family in the long run.

If you are able to help, and want to help Calvin and his family, they are currently living at the YWCA Cortez Hill shelter in San Diego. The contact information for the shelter is:

ywcasandiego.org or 1012 C St. San Diego Ca, 92101

…I bet the shelter could use a donation as well, and that would also be a way to assist Calvin out, and other families that are in that same position.

I hope it all works out for Calvin and his family, as well as all the other Americans that find themselves in need of assistance from their fellow-man.

Happy Holidays…

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=calvin+harrison&iid=4187625″ src=”b/f/c/4/Home_Depot_Track_5124.jpg?adImageId=8236887&imageId=4187625″ width=”234″ height=”152″ /]

For more information on Calvin and this story, click on these sources…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_Harrison

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/11/former-olympic-gold-medal_n_389106.html

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/08/03/SPGOP81HVQ1.DTL

2 Responses to “Gold Medal Twin Olympian Calvin Harrison Homeless…What Went Wrong?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your article. For the sake of the Harrison family and all possible families at Cortez would you please remove the address from your posting? If readers are interested to learn more about Cortez Hill Family Center and all the programs offered by the YWCA please refer them to the YWCA of San Diego. (http://ywcasandiego.org/or 1012 C St. San Diego Ca, 92101.) Thank you very much!


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