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ALBERTO JUANTORENA DANGER :

His gold medals in the 400 meters (44,26) and 800 meters (1:43,50) in the Montreal'76 Olympic Games catapulted him into an endless glory. It was the first and only time in which someone has turned a resistance test into a speed one, as happened in the 800-meter competition.
In 1977 he consolidated his position in the 800 meters after having established a world record (1:44,43) during the World University Games at Sofia, Bulgaria. Two years after that, the lesions that would accompany him till the end of his career began to appear. He had to undergo surgery four times. The "elegant of the tracks", as he was called, never gave up.
He started actually as a basketball player, but he was not cut out for that game. At the age of 21 he decided to try the tracks. His take-off took place in 1971. Ten victories and a Cuban record of 45.9 seconds granted him the election as best junior athlete of that year.
In 1972, he was chosen best novice athlete in Cuba owing to his results in just seven months in national and international events, which included 10 gold medals and 3 silver ones and the 800-meter national record of 45.9 seconds.
Not many people know he made it up to semi-finals in the Olympic Games Munich'72. In the World University Games Moskow'73 he was also the first. Those where the credentials of the long-stride runner, almost unbeatable until 1984.
Despite being the undoubted winner of numerous competitions and having received many other prizes, such as best athlete of the world in 1976 and 1978, Príncipe de Asturias or Christopher Columbus Trophy, he could never crown himself in Pan-american Games.
If Munich opened the gates of glory for him, Havana reserved one of the greatest emotions of his life, in 1982. He became a prophet in his own land and dominated in the 400-meter and 4x400-meter competitions after having had suppressed a supposed inevitable advantage of his rivals.
In 1985, arrived the inevitable good-bye to the tracks. He started over another career, though. First, he headed the Cuban Athletics Federation, and then became vice-president of the National Sports Institute. Since 1976, he maintains a seat in the Parliament.









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