Tabarie Henry arrives in London for the 2012 Olympic Games! Photo courtesy of Tabarie Henry.
"Never give up on (your) dreams because if I can do it so can you"Tabarie Henry
Tabarie Henry's road to London wasn't the smoothest path. Henry started his high school career at Miami Norland and then transferred to Hallandale High School. Due to academic problems, he was unable to run and says the situation was pretty bad.
"I didn't get to run any meets until the districts, regionals, and state series. I remember the day I got cleared to run. I was waiting for a text for my mother because my mom and coach went to the school board to appeal my case. When I got the call I was shouting in class."
Henry is telling youngsters these days to stick with it in the classroom and be tough because he knows that "without a degree you are nobody in today's society." He had the chance to go pro after taking the junior college route, but decided to get his college degree at Texas A&M University.
"I had some rough college years. I was slated to dominate, but it didn't go as planned. I ran into some injuries and a new coaching staff so it was extremely hard. I ended up putting together a great season and went pro."
In 2008 the professional dream became a reality. Henry didn't grasp the full scope of the sport and turned to guys like Wallace Spearmon and Miami native Bershawn Jackson for advice. The advice paid off as Henry made it to his first Olympic games in Beijing. As a native of St. Thomas, he competed in the 400 meter dash for the U.S. Virgin Islands. He clocked a new personal best time of 45.19, but failed to reach the finals. It was a moment he describes as a wake up call.
"That semifinal finish brought me to who I am now. I ran 45.19 and got seventh in my heat. I told myself that won't happen again. The next year in 2009 I made it to the World Finals in Berlin and placed fourth. I was pretty hurt because I almost medaled."
Those races made him hungrier. Henry made another World Final in 2011 where he finished seventh. The past four year he has been focusing on the "right way" to run the 400 meters. It's a tough task, but one that has led him to London for the 2012 Olympics. Henry was chosen to be the flag bearer for the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is an honor he says he is blessed to have.
"I've done a lot for my country to put our name out there on a national stage and at every major competition. For them to give me that duty is a big honor. I never dreamed I'd be an Olympian or pro runner. I just always wanted to be successful. I tell kids to never give up on their dreams because if I can do it so can you."
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- Article: Tabarie Henry Olympic flag bearer for Virgin Islands (KBTX TV)