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LaShawn Merritt

Lashawn Merritt is not just a sprinting legend but a symbol of dedication and excellence in the world of track and field. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Merritt has spent almost two decades as a professional athlete, achieving unparalleled success in his field. He is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School (now Manor High School), where he began his dominance on the track. In 2004, Merritt swept the 100m, 200m, and 400m sprints at the Virginia High School League state championships. That same year, he would win individual gold in the 400m at the 2004 World Junior Championships and be a part of two world record setting performances in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. For his accomplishments, Merritt was named USA Track and Field Youth Athlete of the Year in 2004. After graduating from Wilson High School, Merritt went on to compete collegiately at East Carolina University, where he continued his dominance, but turned pro prior to the 2005 NCAA Championships. On the national and international stages, Merritt would become one of the most decorated athletes from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2006, Merritt helped the U.S.A. 4×400 meter relay team to gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and established himself as an individual force in 2007 by winning silver in the 400m at the 2007 World Championships. A 3-time Olympian in 2008, 2012, and 2016, Merritt would bring home four Olympic medals: Gold in 2008 (400m dash), Gold in 2008 and 2016 (400m relay), and Bronze in 2016 (400m dash). Overall, Merritt has accumulated 23 medals, 19 Gold, in international competition with a 400m best time of 43.65 seconds (9th fastest of all time). He would become one of only six men in history to have broken 20 seconds for the 200m and 44 seconds for the 400m. Beyond his achievements on the track, Merritt is a compassionate philanthropist and motivational speaker. He is the founder of the Lashawn L. Merritt Foundation, established in 2018, which focuses on uplifting underserved communities by promoting health and wellness, education, and mindfulness. In addition to his foundation work, Merritt travels the world, changing lives through his powerful public speaking engagements. His inspiring story and words of wisdom continue to impact audiences globally, leaving a lasting impression on all who hear him speak.

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