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Alberto Juantorena Danger

Cuban athlete Alberto Juantorena Danger was born on December 3, 1950. At the 1976 Summer Olympics, he became the first athlete to win both the 400 and 800 m.

Born in Santiago de Cuba, Juantorena first played basketball, until he was discovered by a Polish track coach, Zygmunt Zabierzowski, who convinced him to start running. Only a year later, Juantorena was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 400 m event at the Munich Olympics (1972).

He 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 m. He only seriously took up running the 800 m in 1976, but few thought he was a serious candidate for the Olympic gold that year.

However, Juantorena made it to the Olympic final, and lead the field for most of the race, eventually winning in a world record time of 1:43.50. Three days later, he also won the 400 m final.

Juantorena, now known at home as El Caballo (the horse), continued his career, although he would never reach the same level as in Montreal. He just missed out on a medal in the 800 m at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, placing fourth. At the 1983 World Championships, his last international appearance in a major event, he was eliminated in the semi-finals.



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