Bronx community honors Track & Field star heading to Paris Olympics

Darla Miles Image
Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Bronx community honors Track & Field star heading to Olympics
Darla Myles has the latest on the Bronx olympian.

THE BRONX (WABC) -- The Olympic games kick off later this month in Paris and there is plenty of representation from the Tri-state area.

Among the athletes competing is Triple-jump champion Salif Manè.

The 22-year-old from the Bronx qualified for the games last week and is considered a favorite for a medal.

He was celebrated at Bronx Borough Hall on Wednesday before heading to Paris.

"He's already a championship. He representing the USA at the Paris Olympics and he's already a champion. I'm claiming his victory because he represents so much," Vanessa Gibson Bronx Borough President said.

"This is a big thing for my family. My mom is very hardworking. She doesn't make a lot of money. So it's like seeing her be this happy for me. You know, this is a breakthrough for us. This can help us benefit in the long run as a family," Manè said.

Manè can jump more than 57 feet in three steps and took home the gold on his first attempt in the triple-jump competition.

He started running track when he was 14 years old.

He attended high school in the Bronx and then attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he also ran Track.

"My family's from Senegal. It means a lot to me. So, I may be representing the United States, but I'm also representing my culture and my coaches. A big part of me when I'm home, I'm fully Senegalese, but when I'm outside, you know, I'm American, but I'm also and I'm Senegalese, American," Manè said.

He said he almost quit when his father died of COVID during the pandemic.

"My dad was, he was an awesome guy. He was very supportive. He always believed in everything we can do. He didn't really know much about track and field, but I mean, he was still supportive. It was really hard on me, you know, with his passing and I haven't competed for a year right after that. So I actually didn't really think I would really want to do track, you know, because I just wanted to go back home and help my family. But I've decided to, you know, continue on this path," Manè said.

Manè is training five days a week until he leaves for Paris, and using the sound of his father's voice to guide him through the competition.

"So whenever I'm down, I just listen to his voice in his voice messages I just listen to it right before I head into competition. And it just gives me that boost that I need to compete. And I just look up to him every single day, " Manè said.

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