Hanna Barakat ’17 Competes At 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics
Achieving the dream many athletes hold, Flintridge Prep alumnae Hanna Barakat ’17 competed at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. A senior at Brown University and member of the Palestinian Athletic Federation, Barakat was one of five athletes representing Palestine at the Olympics.
Barakat competed in the 100m race, breaking the Palestinian national record with a 12.16 time and running her personal best.
“My experience at the Olympics was unlike anything I could imagine,” she says. “My dad was on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team in field hockey. I grew up listening to his stories, so I had a very vivid picture, but the reality of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was drastically different due to COVID-19.” Because of COVID-19, the Olympic games were hosted with strict regulations for athletes and coaches, who all had to remain in the Olympic Village at all times.
Barakat’s road the Olympics is a testament to her athletic ambition. At Brown, Barakat had been studying international relations and competing on their track and field team, but when the pandemic hit, she decided to take a gap year, conducting research at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and continuing her training.
“It has been a long-held dream of mine to compete on the international stage representing my ancestral country. I saw this year as an opportunity to pursue my athletic dream,” Barakat, who is Palestinian American, shares. After reaching out to the Palestinian Athletic Federation (through Instagram!), Barakat joined their team, competing at the Arab Athletic Championships in Tunisia, where she set the national record in the 100m, 200m, and 400m. The Palestinian Olympic Committee was impressed and selected her to represent Palestine at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Palestine is part of my identity and shapes who I am. Being recognized as Palestinian on the world’s largest stage and wearing the flag on my uniform is an indescribable feeling,” she says. “The Olympic Games was such a stimulating environment: new faces, languages, and flags everywhere you looked.”
Flintridge Preparatory School, 4543 Crown Ave., La Cañada Flintridge, (818) 790-1178 or visit www.flintridgeprep.org.