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Arab American Sports and Athletes

Arab American Athletes

During the research to create this web site, we discovered that there are a lot of Athletes in the United States that have Arab descendency. However, we decided to focus more on 3 athletes, that after studying their careers proved to us that they can be great role models for Arab Americans in general. First, we decided to talk about Khalid Khannouchi, who had to overcome several difficulties in order to become the amazing marathonist he became.  We believe he is a great example of self improvement for the whole arab community in the United States. In the other hand, Yasser Seirawan gave us a sense of leadership. He looks very passionate for chess, and this has made him to become not only a expert, but also a active leader in the development of this unique sport. Finally, we were able to describe Doug Flutie in three words: Excellence in Sportsmanship. Flutie was succesful everywhere he went, and it appears to us that not only he is a great  football player, but also an amazing human being, who through his foundation, has helped in many ways people that suffer from autism. We, as a team for this project, and based on what we learned in lectures, believe that this 3 personalities should be considered idols by Arab Americans. We feel this way because is people like these athletes that help clean the erroneous idea that many Americans have about Arab Americans. The Arab American community should be proud of having athletes like the ones just mentioned.

Khalid Khannouchi
Kalid Khannouchi is a marathon athlete born in Morocco that has represented the United States in many competitions. Kannouchi came to the United States in 1992 and settled in Brooklyn, Ny, This was due to lack of support from the moroccan authorities and since then he has achieved very important goals. Born in 1971, Kannouchi has won many competitions and has also imposed the Marathon World record twice. First, he established the World record in the 1999 Chicago Marathon. His time was 2 hours 5 minutes and 42 seconds. Later, in the year 2002, he broke his own record when he won the London Marathon with the time of 2 hours 5 minutes and 38 seconds. Afterwards, his career has been very inconsistent, due to several injuries that have affected his performance. Nonetheless, he has won many competitions in the past decade.
This is a summary of his triumphs:
  • In 1997, he was the Chicago Marathon winner
  • In 1998, he won second place in the Chicago Marathon
  • In 1999, he was the Chicago Marathon winner (world record)
  • In 2000, he came in third place in the London Marathon
  • In 2002, he was the London Marathon winner (world record) and he also won the Chicago Marathon

Nowadays, he is married to a American women, who in fact is his personal trainer.

Khalid Kannouchi
Source : BBC Sports News UK

Yasser Seirawan
Yasser Seirawan is, in our opinion one of the greatest arab american athletes. Born in Damascus in 1960, he moved to Seattle, Wa, in his early childhood. The sport in which Seirawan succeded was Chess. One of his first triumphs was the World Junior Chess Championship, which he won in 1979. Along his career, Seirawan won 4 US championships.
Yasser Seirawan is not only famous for his abilities in Chess. He has also done many things to make chess a more recognizable sport. For example, he created a Magazine called Inside Chess. Seirawan has also made many efforts to unite those people who play this sport, in order to make it more competitive. Seirawan retired in may 2004.

Yasser Seirawan
Source: TWIC

Doug Flutie
Doug Flutie is one of the greatest Arab American Athletes. He has been succesful both in College Football and Professionally. Born in Maryland, Flutie developed his college career in Boston College from 1981 to 1984. Precisely, it was in 1984 when he became known nationwide. During this year, Flutie was awarded the Heisman Trophy for his excellence during the season.
Flutie then began his profesional career in the Canadian Football League, where he spent 8 years. After this, Doug Flutie became the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, in 1998. His success would continue here, where he achieved many personal records. Four years later, when his contract with Buffalo was over, Flutie signed a new one with the San Diego Chargers. There, at age 41, he became the oldest player to score a rushing touchdown. So far, Flutie has accomplished 20 years of magnificent career.
However, Doug Flutie is not only about Football. He also created the Flutie Foundation, with purpose of  " aid financially disadvantaged families who need assistance in caring for their children with autism; to fund education and research into the causes and consequences of childhood autism; and to serve as a clearinghouse and communications center for new programs and services developed for individuals with autism" as described in his website.

Having a son with autism himself, Flutie is in our opinion showing a wonderful gesture to those who need something from him. We can only say, what a great guy.

Sports Illustrated Cover Page on Dec 1984
Source: Sports Illustrated.