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
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.