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JUANTORENA Alberto
JUANTORENA Alberto

Alberto JUANTORENA

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A unique double win over 400m and 800m ensured this runner’s place in Olympic history.

Late start

Alberto Juantorena didn’t seriously consider becoming an athlete until his early twenties. The tall Cuban was a keen basketball player with dreams of becoming a hero on the court.

Rapid recovery

On his debut at the 1972 Munich Games, Alberto Juantorena was eliminated in the 400m semi-finals. This was followed by a stunning unbeaten run of wins that lasted for two years. However, before arriving at the 1976 Montreal Games, he had to recover from two foot operations.

Speed and distance

In Montreal, Alberto Juantorena became the only athlete to ever win the 400m and 800m at the same Olympic Games. This is acknowledged as a truly remarkable athletic accomplishment as the 400m is a sprint race and the 800m is a tactical middle-distance event. He was also the first runner from a non-English-speaking country to win at either distance.

Cuba’s first medals

Juantorena was the first Cuban to win Olympic gold medals in athletics. Following his retirement in 1983, Cuba named Juantorena their Vice Minister of Sports.

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Gallery

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Montreal 1976 Athletics men 800m/400m

In Montreal, Alberto Juantorena became the only athlete to ever win the 400m and 800m at the same Olympic Games. This is acknowledged as a truly remarkable athletic accomplishment as the 400m is a sprint race and the 800m is a tactical middle-distance event.
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1976 Summer Olympics Juantorena

Jul 1976: Alberto Juantorena of Cuba wins the gold medal in the 800m with a world record time of 1:43.50 during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Mandatory Credit: Tony Duffy/Allsport
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OLYMPICS 800 METRES

JUL 1976: ALBERTO JUANTORENA OF CUBA IN ACTION DURING THE 800 METRES FINAL AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN MONTREAL. HE IS FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY HE RICK WOHLHUTER OF THE UNITED STATES AND IVO VAN DAMME OF BELGIUM. JUANTORENA WON GOLD, VAN DAMME WON SILVER AND WOHLHUTER BRONZE. Mandatory Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive
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Montreal 1976-Athletics-800 m-JUANTORENA (CUB) 1st, VAN DAMME (BEL) 2nd, WOHLHUTER (USA) 3rd.
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Montreal 1976-Athletics-400 m-JUANTORENA Alberto (CUB)1st.
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Alberto Juantorena

Cuban runner Alberto Juantorena, gold medal winner in both the 400 and the 800 metres at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Results

  • Games
    Result
    Sport
    Event
  • G 44.26
    Athletics
    400m men
    G 1:43.50
    Athletics
    800m men

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