Alberto Juantorena

Last updated

Alberto Juantorena
Alberto Juantorena 1976 Olympics.jpg
Juantorena winning the 800 m final at the 1976 Olympics
Personal information
Full nameAlberto Juantorena Danger [1]
Nickname(s)El Caballo
El elegante de las pistas [2]
Born (1950-12-03) 3 December 1950 (age 70) [1]
Santiago de Cuba [1]
Height190 cm (6 ft 3 in) [2]
Weight84 kg (185 lb) [2]
Sport
Sport Athletics
Event(s)400 m, 800 m
Coached byZygmunt Zabierzowski
Retired1984
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)400 m – 44.26 (1976)
800 m – 1:43.44 (1977) [2] [3]
Updated on 6 June 2015.

Alberto Juantorena (born 3 December 1950) [4] is a Cuban former runner. He is the only athlete to win both the 400 and 800 m Olympic titles, which he achieved in 1976. He was ranked as world's best runner in the 400 m in 1974 and 1976–1978, and in the 800 m in 1976–77, and was chosen as the Track & Field News Athlete of the Year in 1976 and 1977. [2]

Contents

Biography

Early sports activities

As a 188 cm (6 ft 2 in) 14-year-old, Juantorena was first considered a potential star at basketball; he was sent to a state basketball school, [5] and was a member of the national team. [1] Meanwhile, he had been a regional high-school champion at 800 and 1500 meters. [6] His running talent was discovered by a Polish track coach, Zygmunt Zabierzowski, who convinced him to start running seriously. Juantorena was ready for the change because as he states himself he was a 'bad' basketball player and his idol was the Cuban sprinter Enrique Figuerola. [7] Only a year later, Juantorena reached semifinals of the 400 m event at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Juantorena proceeded to win a gold medal at the 1973 World University Games and a silver at the 1975 Pan American Games, both in the 400 meters. He was unbeaten in 1973 and 1974, but underwent two operations on his foot in 1975. [1] He only seriously took up running the 800 meters in 1976, so few thought he was a candidate for the Olympic gold that year. His coach, Zabierzowski, had initially tricked him in to trying an 800 m race by convincing him the other runners needed a pacemaker. [8]

Olympics 1976

Juantorena made it to the 800m Olympic final, and led the field for most of the race, eventually winning in a world record time of 1:43.50. [9] He was the first non-English speaking athlete to win Olympic gold in this event. Three days later, he also won the 400 meter final, setting a low-altitude world record at 44.26. [10] By winning the 400 meters, he became the first athlete since Paul Pilgrim at the 1906 Intercalated Games to do such a double at an Olympic sports event, and was the only man to do so at an officially recognized Olympics. [5] [11]

Subsequent athletics career

In 1977, he set another world record in the 800, running 1:43.44 in Sofia at the World University Games. [2] He also won both the 400 m and 800 m at the 1977 IAAF World Cup. [12] The 400 m race was mired in controversy when the race was re-run a day after the initial race, in which Juantorena finished third, because Juantorena lodged a successful protest that his slow start had been due to not being able to hear the starter's gun. [13] The latter race featured an epic duel with his great rival Kenya's Mike Boit, a duel that did not happen at the previous year's Olympics because of the African countries boycott.

Juantorena, now known at home as El Caballo (the horse), [1] continued his career, although injuries meant he would never reach the same level as in Montreal. Juantorena had been born with flat feet that caused feet and back problems, and he had to have corrective surgery in 1977. [14] In 1978 he was unbeaten at the 400 m, but suffered his first ever defeat at 800 meters. [14] Injuries, particularly hamstring injuries, hampered his training and racing leading up to the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where he just missed out on a medal in the 400 meters, placing fourth.

At the 1983 World Championships, his last international appearance in a major event, he broke his foot and tore ligaments when he stepped on the inside of the track after qualifying in the first round of the 800 m. [15] He returned to training with a view to competing in the 1984 Summer Olympics. However the 1984 Summer Olympics boycott ended his last chance for competing at Olympics. [16] Instead, he took part in the Friendship Games, the alternative to the official Olympics for the Eastern bloc countries, where he shared the gold medal in the 800 m with Ryszard Ostrowski.

Juantorena at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics Osaka07 D9A Alberto Juantorena.jpg
Juantorena at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics

After retirement

After retirement from athletics in 1984, Juantorena has served in many official capacities, including as the Vice President of the National Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation for Cuba, [5] Vice Minister for Sport of Cuba, and Vice-President, later Senior Vice-President of the Cuban Olympic Committee. He is a member of the World Athletics Council, and has also served as an Athletes' Commission Chairman and Grand Prix Commission Member. [17]

Personal life

Juantorena is married to Yria, a former gymnast; [5] they have five children. [17] His nephew Osmany Juantorena is a professional volleyball player. [2]

International competitions

YearCompetitionVenuePositionEventNotes
Representing Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba
1972 Olympic Games Munich, West Germany 11th (sf)400 m 46.07
1973 Central American and Caribbean Championships Maracaibo, Venezuela 1st400 m 46.4
2nd4 × 400 m relay 3:10.1
Universiade Moscow, Soviet Union 1st400 m 45.36
1974 Central American and Caribbean Games Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1st400 m45.52
1st4 × 400 m relay3:06.36
1975 Pan American Games Mexico City, Mexico 2nd400 m 44.80
2nd4 × 400 m relay 3:02.82
1976 Olympic Games Montreal, Canada 1st400 m 44.26
1st800 m 1:43.50 (WR)
7th4 × 400 m relay 3:03.81
1977 Central American and Caribbean Championships Xalapa, Mexico 2nd400 m45.67
1st4 × 400 m relay3:09.24
Universiade Sofia, Bulgaria 1st800 m 1:43.44 (WR)
World Cup Düsseldorf, West Germany 1st400 m 45.36 1
1st800 m 1:44.04 1
3rd4 × 400 m relay 3:02.77 1
1978 Central American and Caribbean Games Medellín, Colombia 1st400 m44.27
1st800 m1:47.23
3rd4 × 400 m relay3:05.57
1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico 2nd400 m 45.24
2nd800 m 1:46.4
3rd4 × 400 m relay 3:06.3
1980 Olympic Games Moscow, Soviet Union 4th400 m 45.09
1981 Central American and Caribbean Championships Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1st800 m1:47.59
1982 Central American and Caribbean Games Havana, Cuba 1st800 m1:45.15
1st4 × 400 m relay3:03.59
1983 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 28th (h)800 m 1:48.40 2
1984 Friendship Games Moscow, Soviet Union 1st800 m 1:45.68
3rd4 × 400 m relay 3:04.76

1Representing the Americas
2Did not start in the semifinals

Rankings

Juantorena was ranked among the best in the world in both the 400 and 800 m sprint events over the incredible spread of 10 seasons from 1973 to 1982, according to the votes of the experts of Track & Field News . [18] [19]

World Rankings
Year400 m800 m
19733rd
19741st
19754th
19761st1st
19771st1st
19781st6th
19795th
198010th
1981
19822nd

Best performances

400 meters
YearResultWorld rankLocationDate
1973 [20] 45.366thMoscow18 Aug
1974 [21] 44.71stTurin24 Jul
1975 [22] 44.802ndMexico City18 Oct
1976 [23] 44.261stMontreal29 Jul
1977 [24] 44.651stHavana13 Sep
1978 [25] 44.271stMedellin16 Jul
1979 [26] 45.2410thSan Juan12 Jul
1980 [27] 45.096thMoscow30 Jul
198245.5125thKoblenz25 Aug
800 meters
YearResultWorld rankLocationDate
1976 [28] 1.43.501stMontreal25 Jul
1977 [29] 1.43.441stSofia21 Aug
1978 [30] 1.44.384thCologne22 Jun
1979 [31] 1.46.424thSan Juan9 Jul
19811.46.020thHavana4 Jul
19821.45.1514thHavana11 Aug
19831.45.0418thHavana17 Jun
19841.44.8822ndFlorence13 Jun

See also

Related Research Articles

Steve Ovett British former middle distance runner

Stephen Michael James Ovett is a retired British track athlete. A middle-distance runner, he was the gold medalist in the 800 metres at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and set several world records for 1500 metres and the mile run and a world best at two miles.

Alberto Salazar Cuban-born American long-distance runner, and later, track coach

Alberto Salazar is an American track coach, former world-class long-distance runner who is currently under sanctions for doping offenses involving athletes he was training. Born in Cuba, Salazar immigrated to the United States as a child with his family. They moved to Manchester, Connecticut, and then to Wayland, Massachusetts, where Salazar competed in track and field in high school. Salazar is best known for his performances in the New York City Marathon in the early 1980s and his 1982 Boston Marathon victory known as the "Duel in the Sun." He held American track records of 13:11.93 for 5,000 m on July 6, 1982 in Stockholm, Sweden and 27:25.61 for 10,000 m on June 26, 1982 in Oslo, Norway.

800 metres

The 800 metres, or 800 meters, is a common track running event. It is the shortest common middle-distance running event. The 800 metres is run over two laps of the track and has been an Olympic event since the first games in 1896. During indoor track season the event is usually run on a 200-metre track, therefore requiring four laps.

Harvey Glance American athlete

Harvey Edward Glance is a former American sprint runner. He won gold medal in 4 × 100 m relay at the 1976 Olympics, 1987 World Championships, and 1979 and 1987 Pan American Games.

Maxwell Lander ("Maxie") Parks is an American former athlete from Fresno, California.

Silvio Leonard Sarría also known as Silvio Leonard Tartabull is a former sprinter from Cuba.

Honorary Captain Sriram Singh Shekhawat is a former Indian middle-distance runner.

Rick Wohlhuter American middle-distance runner

Rick Wohlhuter is a retired American middle-distance runner.

Vicki Huber is a retired American middle distance and cross country runner.

James Sanford is a retired track and field sprinter from the United States.

Steve Williams (sprinter) American sprinter

Steve Williams is a retired track and field sprinter from the United States. He equalled the men's world records for the 100 m and 200 m with hand-timed runs of 9.9 seconds and 19.8 seconds, respectively, and was also a member of a team that set a world record in the 4 × 100 m relay.

James J. Robinson Jr. is a former American middle distance runner. He was the dominant American 800 meters runner from the mid-1970s through the mid 1980s. He ran in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, finishing fifth in his semi-final and not making the final. He was on the ill-fated 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not get to compete due to the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott. He did however receive one of 461 Congressional Gold Medals created especially for the spurned athletes.

Tony Darden is an American former track and field athlete, who competed in the sprints events during his career. He is best known for winning the men's 400-meter dash at the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan.

Willie James Smith III was an American athlete who was the national champion 400 metres runner in 1979-80, and a gold medal winner at the 1984 Olympics in the 4 × 400 m relay.

The men's 400 metres was an event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. The competition was held on July 26, 1976, July 28, 1976, and on July 29, 1976. Forty-four athletes from 29 nations competed. The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Alberto Juantorena of Cuba, the nation's first medal in the event, breaking a string of five victories by the United States. Juantorena became the first man to win both the 800 metres and 400 metres in an Olympics.

Athletics at the 1976 Summer Olympics – Mens 800 metres

The men's 800 metres event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal was held on July 23, 1976, July 24, 1976, and on July 25, 1976. Forty-two athletes from 31 nations competed. The maximum number of athletes per nation had been set at 3 since the 1930 Olympic Congress. The event was won by Alberto Juantorena of Cuba, the nation's first medal in the event; Juantorena would later complete an unusual double in winning the 400 metres as well. Ivo van Damme's silver was Belgium's first medal in the event since 1960, matching the 1960 silver for best result for the nation.

Luis Alberto Bueno is a (presumed) retired Cuban Track and Field athlete, known primarily for being a Junior long jumper.

Robert Earl Taylor is an American former sprinter.

800 metres at the Olympics

The 800 metres at the Summer Olympics has been contested since the first edition of the multi-sport event. The men's 800 m has been present on the Olympic athletics programme since 1896. The women's event was first held in 1928, making it the first distance running event for women. However it was not held again until 1960, since when it has been a permanent fixture. It is the most prestigious 800 m race at elite level. The competition format typically has three rounds: a qualifying round, semi-final stage, and a final between eight runners.

Seymour Newman is a Jamaican former athlete who competed in short and middle-distance running events

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Alberto Juantorena". britannica.com. Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Alberto Juantorena". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  3. Alberto Juantorena. trackfield.brinkster.net
  4. Various dates have been given for Juantorena's birth, with 3 December 1950 (The International Who's Who 2004 (Europa Publications) and ) or 21 November 1950 (Historical Dictionary of Track and Field (Scarecrow Press, 2012), Top Distance Runners of the Century (Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 2002)) and even 11 November 1950 (Who's Who in the 1984 Olympics (Pelham Books, 1984))
  5. 1 2 3 4 Robb, Sharon (21 June 1980) "Treasure Island Cuba Doesn't Just Love Sports Heroes. It Worships Them". SunSentinel.
  6. Sandrock, p. 206
  7. Hill, Garry (November 1977). "Archived copy" (PDF). Track and Field News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Sandrock, p. 207
  9. 'Alberto Juantorena 1976 Olympics 800' on YouTube
  10. 'Legendary: El Caballo Romps' on YouTube
  11. Alberto Juantorena. Olympic.org. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  12. Morre, K. (12 September 1977) "The Cup Turned Into a Coup", Sports Illustrated.
  13. '1977 World Cup 400 m – men' on YouTube
  14. 1 2 Sandrock, p. 217
  15. '1983 IAAF World Championship Men's 800 Meter heat' on YouTube
  16. Sandrock, p. 218
  17. 1 2 IAAF Council Member Biography. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  18. "World Rankings Index—Men's 400 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News . Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  19. "World Rankings Index—Men's 800 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  20. 1973 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  21. 1974 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  22. 1975 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  23. 1976 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  24. 1977 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  25. 1978 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  26. 1979 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  27. 1980 Year Rankings at 400m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  28. 1976 Year Rankings at 800m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  29. 1977 Year Rankings at 800m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  30. 1978 Year Rankings at 800m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.
  31. 1979 Year Rankings at 800m. Digilander.libero.it. Retrieved on 25 June 2018.

Cited sources


Records
Preceded by
Flag of Italy.svg Marcello Fiasconaro
Men's 800 m World Record Holder
1976-07-16 – 1979-07-05
Succeeded by
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Sebastian Coe
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Flag of Brazil.svg João Carlos de Oliveira
United Press International
Athlete of the Year

1976–1977
Succeeded by
Flag of Kenya.svg Henry Rono
Preceded by
Flag of New Zealand.svg John Walker
Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
1976–1977
Succeeded by
Flag of Kenya.svg Henry Rono