- For the Italo-Cuban volleyball player, see Osmany Juantorena Portuendo
Alberto Juantorena (born 3 December 1950) is a Cuban former track athlete, famed for his nine foot stride length. At the 1976 Summer Olympics, he became the first and so far only athlete to win both the 400 and 800 m Olympic titles.
Born in Santiago de Cuba, as a 6 foot 2 inch 14 year old, Juantorena was first considered a potential star at basketball and was sent to a state basketball school. A talented athlete at many sports, he had been a regional high-school champion at 800 and 1500 meters, but his true talent at athletics 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 when young was an athlete, the Cuban sprinter Enrique Figuerola. Only a year later, Juantorena was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 400 m event at the Munich Olympics (1972).
Juantorena became better known in the next years, winning a gold medal at the World University Games (1973) 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. 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 race by convincing him the other runners need a pacemaker. However, Juantorena made it to the Olympic final, and led the field for most of the race, eventually winning in a world record time of 1:43.50. 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 of 44.26. 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 first to do so at an officially recognized Olympics.
In 1977, he set another world record in the 800, running 1:43.44 in Sofia at the World University Games. He also won both the 400 m and 800 m at the 1977 IAAF Athletics World Cup in Düsseldorf, Germany. The 400 m race was mired in controversy when the race was re-run a day after the initial race, in which Junatorena 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. 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), 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. In 1978 he was unbeaten at the 400 m, but suffered his first ever defeat at 800 meters. 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. As Juantorena was being carried off the track on a stretcher most viewers must have thought that was the end, but Juantorena returned to training with a view to competing in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. However, when Cuba joined the boycott of those Olympics his last chance of international glory was ended.
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, Vice Minister for Sport of Cuba, and Vice-President, later Senior Vice-President of the Cuban Olympic Committee.
He also married Yria, a former gymnast, and is still a keen fun runner, running 6 miles a day and participating in marathons.
Juantorena has also been appointed as a member of the IAAF Council, and has also served as an Athletes' Commission Chairman and Grand Prix Commission Member.
His nephew Osmany Juantorena is a professional volleyball player playing in Italy.
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 and Field News.
Best performances 
Notes for tables:
- world rankings are based on the best time for each athlete.
- ^ a b c d e http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1990-06-21/sports/9001140873_1_athletes-alberto-juantorena-heroes, 'Treasure Island Cuba Doesn`t Just Love Sports Heroes. It Worships Them', Sharon Robb, June 21, 1980, sunsentinel.com. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- ^ M Sandrock, "Running with the Legends", p. 206
- ^ http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/archive/Interviews/alberto-Juantorena.pdf T&F Interview, Garry Hill, Track and Field News, November 1977.
- ^ M Sandrock, "Running with the Legends", p. 207
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBTG-QwbNsE 'Alberto Juantorena 1976 Olympics 800', youtube.com.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY0JOwJO5Ek 'Legendary: El Caballo Romps', youtube.com.
- ^ http://www.olympic.org/alberto-juantorena Official Olympic biography.
- ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ju/alberto-juantorena-1.html Sports Reference Biography. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1092794/index.htm "The Cup Turned Into a Coup", K Morre, Sports Illustrated. September 12, 1977.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYK9E1XAzdI '1977 World Cup 400 m - men', youtube.com.
- ^ a b M. Sandrock, "Running with the Legends", p.217
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9RSScXe1gA '1983 IAAF World Championship Men's 800 Meter heat', youtube.com.
- ^ M. Sandrock. "Running with the Legends", p. 218
- ^ a b http://www.iaaf.org/aboutiaaf/structure/council/orgCode=197356/mailCode=145475/index.html IAAF Council Member Biography. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- ^ Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition, Editor Imre Matrahazi, IAAF Athletics, p ii.
- ^ "World Rankings Index--Men's 400 meters". Track and Field News.
- ^ "World Rankings Index--Men's 800 meters". Track and Field News.
- ^ 1973 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1974 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1975 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1976 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1977 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1978 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1979 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1980 Year Rankings at 400m
- ^ 1976 Year Rankings at 800m
- ^ 1977 Year Rankings at 800m
- ^ 1978 Year Rankings at 800m
- ^ 1979 Year Rankings at 800m
External links and references 
Further reading 
- Sandrock, Michael, "Running with the Legends", Human Kinetics, 1996.
See also 
- 1926: Mexico (A. García, C. García, Moraila, Iturbe)
- 1930: Mexico (Álvarez, de Anda, Iturbe, Moraila)
- 1935: Cuba (Vázquez, Hernández, Fernández, Gómez)
- 1938: Panama (Scott, Edgardo, Chevans, Baker)
- 1946: Jamaica (McKenley, Woodstock, Rhoden, Wint)
- 1950: Panama (S. La Beach, McSween, Prince, L. La Beach)
- 1954: Jamaica (Laing, LaBeach, Gardner, Rhoden)
- 1959: Puerto Rico (F. Rivera, M. Rivera, de Jesús, Rodríguez)
- 1962: Jamaica (Mel Spence, Williams, Mal Spence, Kerr)
- 1966: Jamaica (Forbes, Mel Spence, Myton, Hoilette)
- 1970: Cuba (Olivera, Díaz, J. García, Álvarez)
- 1974: Cuba (E. García, Gutiérrez, Álvarez, Juantorena)
- 1978: Jamaica (Barriffe, Heywood, Brown, Cameron)
- 1982: Cuba (Pavó, Reyté, Ramos, Juantorena)
- 1986: Cuba (Peñalver, Pavó, Valentín, Stevens)
- 1990: Jamaica (Clarke, Burnett, McCrea, Morris)
- 1993: Cuba (Meña, Herrera, Martínez, Téllez)
- 1998: Cuba (Meña, Crusellas, Hevia, Téllez)
- 2002: Dominican Republic (Matos, Santa, Peralta, Sánchez)
- 2006: Jamaica (Ayre, Green, Chambers, Steele)
- 2010: Jamaica (Thompson, Green, Cato, Fothergill)
Legendary: El Caballo Romps
Juantorena's 4|8 double in the Montreal Olympics is the stuff of legend...we don't believe it will ever be repeated...
Alberto Juantorena - 1972 to 1983
Olympic Games Gold 1976 Montreal 400 metres Gold 1976 Montreal 800 metres Pan American Games Silver 1975 Mexico City 400 metres Silver 1975 Mexico City 4x400...
1977 World Cup 400m - men
Juantarena in the famous re-run.
Alberto Juantorena 1976 Olympic 800
Alberto Juantorena wins the 1976 Olympic 800 meters.
Alberto Juantorena 800m and 400m Olympic double 1976
Alberto Juantorena completes a unique historic double in the Montreal Olympics 1976. The Cuban athlete runs the 800m, breaking the world record, then doubles...
Alberto Juantorena - Olimpiadi Montréal 1976 - Perle di sport
Intervista a Alberto Juantorena Danger
Roma 20 febbraio 2009. Intervista esclusiva concessa al Circolo di Roma dell'Associazione Nazionale di Amicizia Italia-Cuba, dal Vice Ministro dello Sport Cu...
Juantorena 4x400 La Habana 1982
Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe de La Habana, 1982. Relevo 4x400. Última posta de Alberto Juantorena.
Leichtathletik Meeting Zürich Letzigrund Klassiker
Armin Hary, Weltrekord 100 m, 1960 Rod Milburn, Weltrekord 110 m Hürden, 1973 Peter Laeng, Schweizerrekord 400 m, 1962 Rolf Bernhard, Schweizerrekord Weitspr...
1977 World Cup 800m - men
The great Juantarena showing his talent as no.1 in the world.
Mon, 29 Apr 2013 04:53:04 -0700
En 1979 Sebastian Coe se convirtió en el mejor mediofondista del mundo, batiendo con muy pocos días de diferencia los récords del mundo de los 800 m (superando la marca del mítico atleta cubano Alberto Juantorena), os1.500 m y el de la Milla.
Sat, 27 Apr 2013 06:09:15 -0700
Alberto Juantorena, Irena Szewinska, Pietro Menea, Sara Simeoni, Sergej Bubka, Jan Železni, Katrin Krabe, Uve Bayer, Uve Hohn, Lutz Dombrowski, Nenad Stekić, Primož Kozmus, Tomaž Majewski, Andreas Thorkildson, kao i naše atletske dive Sandra ...
Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:49:17 -0700
En reconocimiento a su labor se le concedió el título honorífico de Héroe del Trabajo de la República de Cuba y, al cumplir 100 años recibió un merecido homenaje, encabezado por el bicampeón olímpico de 400 y 800 metros (en 1976), Alberto Juantorena.
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