Alum running her own race
Only 0.0013% of individuals make an individual spot on an Olympic Team, but Mulern Jean ’15 beat the odds and found herself a part of the statistic in 2016 and 2020, competing for Team Haiti because her parents are Haitian.
Today, the spotlight continues to vibrantly shine on former Charleston Southern University student-athlete, Jean. She was destined to adhere to Albert Einstein’s heroic quotation, “There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.”
From postgraduation, to an Olympic athlete, and an advocate for public safety, Jean continues to peacefully articulate her story. Jean said, “Charleston Southern University became my new home when I was offered an NCAA D1 track scholarship by the Women’s Track and Field Program. I remember touring the university and instantly falling in love with the atmosphere, Southern hospitality, and faith integration.”
Through grit and perseverance, Jean advises fellow student-athletes to prioritize one’s goals and to not let anything or anyone stop you from accomplishing your goals. After graduating from CSU in 2015, one year later, Jean participated in the Olympics, competing in the 100 meter hurdles as she represented Team Haiti. Jean would accomplish this same goal four years later at the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
As far as Jean’s Olympic experience goes, 2016 was her first Olympics and the largest stage/championship she had ever competed in. Unfortunately, her anxious nerves kept her from competing her best. Jean would later compete in the 2020 Olympics and integrate her past experiences to focus on her race, personal identity, and her track lane. As a result, she ran a season’s best time to qualify her for the semifinals.
After competing in the Olympics in 2020, Jean acknowledges that her current everyday functionalities are quite challenging. However, this challenge is only the next chapter in her unfinished story. Jean said, “It is like you get this taste of what you can accomplish or how close you have gotten. But at this point, the season is over and you have to pick back up where you left off or try to get back to as close to where you were when you left off. However, there is so much more that you have to focus on. Time is a variable that slowly creeps up on you.” Jean said, “I say this because the off-season goes by so quickly, then it is fall conditioning, and then you are simply competing indoors. However, it almost feels like an athlete never stops once fully committed to track and field.”
After retiring as an Olympic athlete, Jean plans to coach fellow students or individuals who feel her same urge to take running to the next level. Jean competes locally and hopes to compete in the 2024 Olympics held in State de France.
As Jean has been able to mark several outrageous items off of her bucket list, her career has led her to public safety. Jean holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in criminal justice. Following her Bachelor’s, Jean began her career in law enforcement and finished her Master’s in 2017.
Currently, Jean works as a full-time Student Resource Officer in Mount Pleasant.
Daily, she goes to the track and trains typically two hours followed by a one-hour workout at her local workout center. Jean’s day is not complete without spending time with her daughter and aiding in her educational process through learning videos and homework guidance. With a hectic schedule throughout the school week, Jean typically competes on the weekend.
In her free time, she enjoys relaxing her muscles, watching a movie, or participating in activities that calm her nerves in order to remain peaceful while competing in a constantly moving sport. Jeans believes that her free time is valuable, because she is moving from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Respecting her body and listening to it is the key to this Olympic athlete’s success.
Jean credits her success to having a powerful support system. From her family that has been there since her adolescent years, advice and intelligent wisdom from coaches, her school, and Tim Langford (former coach at Charleston Southern), all have paved the way for her. Most importantly, Jean’s daughter is the sole reminder that keeps her going when her body and muscle fatigue say otherwise.
Jean continues to practice optimism as she embraces three words that describe her best: determined, motivated, and passionate. At the end of the day, Jean’s story is just the steppingstone into opened doors.
Makena Griffis is a nursing major at Charleston Southern University and serves as a brand ambassador for the Office of Marketing & Communication.