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Immigrant Of The Day: Meb Keflezighi of Eritea

by Kevin R. Johnson

Meb Keflezighi (Eritea)

Mebrahtom ("Meb") Keflezighi
, born May 5, 1975 in Asmara, Eritrea, is a world-class marathon runner. He and his family came to the United States as refugees from Eritrea (via Italy).  Meb became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1998, the same year he graduated from UCLA.

At UCLA, Meb received numerous All-American and other awards. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, Keflezighi won the silver medal in the men's marathon. This was the first medal won by an American man in the Olympic marathon since Frank Shorter in 1976.  

Keflezighi lives and trains in Mammoth Lakes, California.  In 2007, Keflezighi suffered from dehydration and broke his hip during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials in Central Park. He finished in eighth place and did not qualify for the team.

Yesterday, Meb won the 2009 New York City Marathon, setting a personal best of 2:09:15. He was the first U.S. citizen to win the marathon since 1982.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.