A year ago I wrote that the dorm room most prized at Harvard University was Kirkland H33, where Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook on February 4, 2004.
The year before, however, he lived in room D11 of Straus Hall. He wasn’t the only one in that room. His roommate was Samyr Laine. Laine is sort of famous in his own right, albeit for something very different. According to an article by Rob Gloster at Bloomberg Businessweek:
While the founder of Facebook… was spending long nights at his laptop in the dorm at Cambridge, Massachusetts, roommate Samyr Laine focused on twin goals that are within reach over the next two months.
Laine will compete in the triple jump at the London Olympics for Haiti, the country of his parents’ birth. Then he probably will start a job at a New York law firm that he twice deferred to stay in training.
That’s right, Zuckerberg’s roommate is an Olympic athlete. And he has a number of other accomplishments. Gloster:
Laine, 27, holds Harvard records for the triple jump, both indoors at 51 feet, 11 1/4 inches (15.83 meters) and outdoors at 53 feet, 7 1/2 inches, which compare with the world outdoor record of 60 feet, 1/4 inch by Britain’s Jonathan Edwards in 1995. After graduating in 2006, Laine competed at the University of Texas for a year while getting a master’s degree in kinesiology and sports management.
After the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro that July, he began three years at Georgetown Law School while maintaining an intense training regimen that includes working about once a week with an unpaid coach who used to play minor-league baseball. He was a summer associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP and passed the bar before deferring a law career to focus on jumping.
But while Zuckerberg (on the left, above, in 2003) is fantastically, sinfully rich ($17.5 billion at last count), Laine (right) is kind of poor.
Gloster reports that Laine often eats free pizzas he receives through a deal with a local restaurant, takes advantage of a free Olympic trainer, and his only sources of income seem to be a stipend from the International Olympic Committee and additional money from the U.S. Athletic Trust. His parents sometimes still help him with the rent.
Laine said that that he and Zuckerberg “played a ton of PlayStation” and didn’t get much sleep their freshman year. Laine was the 14th person to sign up for Facebook.
Harvard is funny like that. [Image via]