He was barely 15 years old when he first flew
over the 2-meter limit. That slender mulatto, born on October
13th, 1967, in the town of Limonar (about 20 km away from the
city of Matanzas) was cut out for high jumping, and his talent
for that was discovered by the sports activist Carmelo Benítez.
His ascension to glory was astonishing and it had a lot to do
with the hard work of his first trainer José Godoy and
later Guillermo de la Torre.
Being 6'5'' tall and weighing 178 pounds, he started over at
the age of 13 and only jumped up to the 1.65 m, but he was 5''
He really astonished every one when, at the age of 19, he established
a junior world record of 2.36. Many considered him the most
stable jumper and they were right because along his career he
jumped over the 2.40 m limit 22 times.
His first absolute world record (2.43 m) was established in
Salamanca, Spain, on September 8th, 1988. The 2.44 m record
was set the following year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but in
1993 he would reach, again in Salamanca, the 2.45 m, a world
record that remains still untouched.
He also walked triumphantly in other high-rank competitions.
He won three gold medals in outdoor world championships and
other four gold medals in indoor competitions at the same level.
In the same way, he treasures his victories in three Pan-american
Games and other three Central American and Caribbean Games.
That represents all the prizes given by the international athletics
After having been unfairly penalized with two years away from
competitions due to a supposed cocaine consumption detected
in an antidoping analysis during the Pan-american Games Winnipeg'99,
the international federation condoned the penalty and he was
allowed to participate in the summer Olympics of Sydney 2000.
He quickly trained for three months and became the silver medallist
of the tournament with a jump of 2.29 meters, only surpassed
by the Russian Serguei Klujin, who won the gold medal with a
jump of 2.31 meters.