Haitian-American Steve Lorrius “From a Kidney Defect to Track & Field Sprinter”
The story of sprinter Steve Lorrius is one of perseverance, denial, redemption and determination. After having this young man reach out so many times trying to tell me his story I am proud to feature him on this site. This is definitely a story undeniable resilience.
Steve Lorrius a story of one who paved his own lane, then ran down it with an accelerating speed. The kind of speed that has gotten him ranked in the world for the 200-meter. For the 2013 outdoor season, along with his team he ranked 2nd in the world for the 4×200 meter and ranked 39th in the world for the 4×100 meter. In the same year for indoor season along with his team he ranked 4th in the world for the 4×200 meter and ranked 9th in the world for the 4×400 meter. His team was also named winners in the Florida Relays for the 4×200, in the Penn Relays for the 4×100 and in the Adidas Grand Prix for the 4×400. This same type of dedication would lead him to represent the country of his heritage, Haiti.
The youngest of 8, Lorrius was born with a kidney defect due to his mother giving birth to him during a stroke. Given the defect, the doctor recommended he not play sports at all. An impossible thing to tell a kid whose siblings all ran track. Even at a young age Lorrius knew he wanted to be an Olympic sprinter. At the age of 5 watching the 1992 Olympics and later being intrigued by Michael Johnson, he developed a fascination with running track. After watching the Olympics he started to go to his siblings matches and following the sport overall. Drawn to the idea of being able to run fast but be controlled, technical and at the same time relaxed led him to bring questions to his brother Jeff who would later mentor him. Growing up in a household of athletes made Lorrius highly competitive and a perfectionist in whatever he did.
This type of reputation and expectancy would carry over into his high school because coaches were familiar with his siblings. As a young freshman Lorrius was turned off by the track coach’s extra attention and decided to play football instead. In fact, Lorrius didn’t run track until his senior year of high school. Which faired well for the wide receiver until he struggled academically and failed off the football team. His mother then threatened to send him to a boarding school in rural Florida where his brother was. Hearing the horror stories he decided to improve his grades and join the track team. Even after three years away, senior year Lorrius made All State for indoor and outdoor, All FCIAC indoor and outdoor and became the city champion for the 400 meter.
The few years following high school Lorrius pursued a degree in auto-mechanics while simultaneously working a 60 hours a week retail job. He had the same fascination with cars, particularly Audi, for the same speed and control that he admired in sprinters. Following an automotive degree he attended Norwalk Community College for an additional two years to pursue the education he hadn’t really taken seriously in prior years.
Lorrius played basketball in several Christian leagues before he was given a tip about the track program at Southern Connecticut State University. Transferring to SCSU he started training to be on the track team when shortly after he was informed he couldn’t be on the team. Due to the years of schooling he had exhausted his eligibility to be on the team. Just as the frustration of being denied began, Lorrius also had a close family member and two close friends who died unexpectedly all within a month’s time. With the overbearing news he slipped into a state of depression.
Giving all the frustration and inability to deal with things beyond his control, he began to throw that energy into his own training. The animosity and envy he developed for the athletes who were able to train with a coach he turned into his motivation. He disciplined himself to study the physics of running, did his own studies and practice and trained himself. With his own research he started to attend various open meets, unaffiliated with any school, to show his skill and ability. In the process he garnered the attention of his school’s coach who again tried unsuccessfully to get him on the team.
Continuing to attend open meets and outperform the majority of sprinters competing, he gained the attention of coach Trevor Green founder of Zenith Velocity track club. Green has trained many Olympic runners including sprinter Lalonde Gordon who won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics. In his pursuit to find talent, Green came across a video of Lorrius competing at a major open meet in Boston and was impressed. He then offered Lorrius the chance to join the team in which he agreed, started training and became an official member in September of 2012. Not only was Lorrius thrilled to finally be a part of a team, but his new peers were Olympic athletes who he respected and it motivated him further.
The strenuous training regimen that includes 4,000 push-ups and sit-ups a week prepared him to receive even better news related to his hard work and dedication. Seeing his teammates, who were Olympians representing countries throughout the world, motivated Lorrius to attempt to join the country he foremost wanted to run for: Haiti. Compiling his stats and progress from meets with Zenith Velocity, he began submitting to a representative for Haiti’s track team.
His gradual growth, work ethic and persistence finally paid off when he received a confirmation and was accepted in June of 2013 to represent Haiti as a sprinter. Lorrius describes representing Haiti as an honor and the greatest feeling he’s ever felt was putting on the uniform. Having competed as a sprinter representing Haiti, Lorrius sees the power and reach he has and wants to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Making a difference in the lives of youth is something Lorrius is very interested in and motivated him to start a non-profit. Steve goes to various schools to motivate children to pursue their dreams and teach them the fundamentals of running for track in field. Lorrius hopes to bring a non-profit program to various parts of Haiti as he continues to perform as a sprinter with a goal of competing in the Olympics.