Alberto Juantorena

Alberto Juantorena Danger . Cuban athlete. Known as The Elegant of the Tracks , specialist in athletics in 400 and 800 flat meters; Olympic champion in both disciplines at the 1976 Montreal Olympics . Later he continued to reap Olympic, World, Pan American and Central American successes. He has been the only Cuban athlete in history who has managed to be a double champion in the same Olympics. He is currently Vice President of INDER , President of the Cuban Athletics Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee .

In the book Alberto Juantorena Astro and example! the fundamental aspects of his sporting career up to the year 1985 are recorded .

Summary

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  • 1 Biographical summary
    • 1 Sports career
    • 2 Search
    • 3 Acknowledgments
  • 2 Summary of results
  • 3 References
  • 4 Sources

biographical synthesis

He was born on November 21, 1950 in Santiago de Cuba and since he was a child he liked sports. Yolanda Danger, mother of the champion, reported that Alberto was always running, even to run errands.

He was about 1.90 meters tall, had good jumpability and was quick to move, and was enrolled in the Provincial School of Athletic Improvement ( ESPA ) in the 1970-1971 school year , then located in the Vista Alegre district .

Sports race

He began his sports practice in basketball and in 1970 he participated in the senior tournament as a reinforcement for the Oriente basketball team, under the leadership of the experienced Rafael Carbonell , but he saw little action on a list that included the well-known Inocente Cuesta , Alejandro Urgellés , Tomas Herrera and Juan Domecq .

He did not manage to advance in basketball despite the efforts of coach Mario Soler , but José Salazar (Cheo), running back coach, requested his pass to athletics, convinced that he had a talent for the tracks at hand. The task of giving the final approval fell to the Polish specialist Zygmunt Zabierzowski , responsible with the runners of the national preselection, this happened on March 8, 1971 on the track of the Pedro Marrero Stadium , where after giving the first round to the oval, Zigmunt stopped the clock in the 500 meters and the time of 1:07.0. It was enough to certify Juantorena’s change of discipline.

Juantorena’s constant dedication, combined with Zabierzowski’s wise teachings and sound advice, soon revealed outstanding records in the 400-meter dash. After taking part in the traditional athletic tour in the 1972 campaign he gained the coach’s trust and was included in the small group of 16 track and field competitors who attended the Munich Olympics . There he finished fourth in the semifinals (46.07).

The first major triumph in the international arena was made on August 18, 1973 , when he first crossed the finish line in the 400 meter dash (45.4) of the World University Games held in Moscow . This was recognized by receiving two coveted distinctions:

  • Best athlete of the year in Cuba .
  • Best Athlete of the year in Latin America .

In the Canadian city of Montreal in 1976 , he became the first man in history to achieve victory in the 400 and 800-meter events , very different competitions, since the first is speed and the second is middle-distance.

Juantorena being awarded by Fidel Castro

He did not go out on many occasions to run the 800, as he was a specialist in the shorter test, and for the second he was secretly prepared (which he himself did not know) by the Pole Zigmud Zabierzowsky , who explained to him that the presentations in that distance were part of the training. In the two laps of the track he performed nine times that year, in which he always arrived first, obtaining three national records.

The Olympic double, in Montreal in 1976 , was later repeated in the Athletics World Cup in Düsseldorf in 1977, also in the midst of a curiosity: one of the tests had to be repeated, because at the moment of the shot a plane passed over of the stadium and did not let him hear it.

In 1976 and 1977 , the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) recognized the Cuban as the best athlete in the world, including all disciplines.

In 1977 , he dominated the 400m and 800m world rankings, winning both events at the Düsseldorf World Cup. On August 21 of that same year he managed to improve his own world record in the 800 meters in Sofia with a record of 1:43.44.

The last international competition in which he participated was the World Cup in Helsinki in 1983 , where after passing the first round of the 800 meters, he suffered a foot injury and was unable to continue competing, later he retired from active sports assuming other sports functions.

Withdrawal

Upon retiring from active sports, he has held different positions related to sports in Cuba. He is currently Vice President of INDER and President of the Cuban Athletics Federation . He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and the IAAF .

On January 20, 2013, together with Estela Rodríguez Villanueva , he participated in the inauguration of an exhibition in the Expocuba sports pavilion named “Show Champions of the People”, which provides information on Sports in Cuba from 1959 [1] .

On August 19, 2015, he was elected as vice president of the International Federation of Athletics Associations (IAAF) [2] .

In February 2020 , he was appointed as part of the body of advisors that will support the work of the Pan American Athletics Association (APA), an entity that distributes its headquarters in several countries of the continent and intensifies the work in search of greater development for the competitors. He will share his new functions with other well-known directors of the field and universal track [3] .

Acknowledgments

In June 2012 , the IAAF determined that Juantorena be part of the association ‘s Hall of Fame [4] .

On November 18, 2021 , within the framework of the closing of the 53rd edition of the World Athletics Congress, which took place online, he was recognized for receiving the Merit Plaque [5] .

Summary of Results

Year Event Site Country Result Specialty
1972 Olympic Games Munich  

Germany

semifinals 400 m
1973 World University Games Moscow  

Soviet Union

1ro 400 m
1975 Panamerican Games Mexico City  

Mexico

2do 400 m
1976 Olympic Games Montreal  

Canada

1ro 400 m
1976 Olympic Games Montreal  

Canada

1ro 800 m
1977 Athletics World Cup Düsseldorf  

RFA

1ro 400 m
1977 Athletics World Cup Düsseldorf  

RFA

1ro 800 m
1977 Athletics World Cup Düsseldorf  

RFA

3ro Relevo 4 x 400m.
1979 Panamerican Games San Juan  

Puerto Rico

2do 400 m
1979 Panamerican Games San Juan  

Puerto Rico

2do 800 m
1979 Panamerican Games San Juan  

Puerto Rico

3ro 4×400 m
1980 Olympic Games Moscow  

Soviet Union

4to
1982 Central American and Caribbean Games Havana city  

Cuba

1ro

 

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