Félix Sánchez (hurdler)

Félix Sánchez
Felix Sanchez Berlin 2009 cropped.JPG
Félix Sánchez at the World Championship Athletics 2009 in Berlin
Personal information
Born (1977-08-30) August 30, 1977 (age 45)
New York City, United States
Years active1999–2016
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight73 kg (161 lb)
Event(s)400 meter hurdles, 4 × 400 meters relay
College teamUSC Trojans

Félix Sánchez, (born August 30, 1977) is a retired Dominican-American track and field athlete. He is of Dominican descent, was born and raised in the United States, and competed for the Dominican Republic, specializing in the 400 meter hurdles. He is a two-time Olympic gold medallist, winning gold in 2004 and 2012, and was also World Champion in 2001 and 2003. Just before turning 36, he set the Masters M35 World Record with a time of 48.10. Sanchez acquired many nicknames: "Super Felix", "the Invincible", "Superman", and "the Dictator".[1]

The Félix Sánchez Olympic Stadium, the Dominican Republic’s largest stadium, is named after him.

Sánchez retired in April 2016, citing the recent birth of his son.[2][3][4]

Early life and college

Sánchez was born in New York City to Dominican-born parents and was raised in San Diego, California.[5] He attended University City High School and San Diego Mesa College in the city, and then went on to study psychology at the University of Southern California in 1998.[6][7] Competing for University of Southern California's USC Trojans, he was a Pac-10 champion (400 m hurdles) and All-American relay champion (1600 m) in 1999.[6]

Professional career

Sánchez at the 2012 London Olympics

Sánchez opted to represent the Dominican Republic internationally, and made his debut for that nation in the Pan American games in 1999.[8] Between 2001 and 2004 he won 43 races in a row[8] at 400 m hurdles, including the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. He won a share of the Golden League million dollar-jackpot in 2002 after winning all 7 races.[9]

At the 2003 Pan American Games, Sánchez won the Dominican Republic's first gold medal at the competition and also broke the Pan American Games record in the 400 m hurdles.[10][11] He was named Track and Field News Track & Field Athlete of the Year in 2003. Subsequently, he won the first ever Olympic gold medal for the Dominican Republic on August 28, 2004 during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.[12]

During his 43-race[8] winning streak, from 2001 to 2004, Sánchez was known for wearing a wristband while competing. The red flashing wristband, a souvenir from the 2000 Olympics, served as a motivation for him after failing to advance to the final in Sydney. After winning the Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004, Sánchez gave the wristband to the IAAF for auction and the profits were donated to charity.[8] In his first race after the Olympics – and his first race without the wristband – at the Van Damme Memorial meet in Brussels, Sánchez injured his leg and had to abandon the race halfway through.[13][14]

In 2012, at the age of 34, Sánchez entered the 2012 Summer Olympics. He posted the fastest qualifying time, and won the final with a time of 47.63 seconds,[15] the same as his winning time in Athens in 2004 and his fastest run for eight years.[16] Sánchez became the oldest man to win the Olympic 400m hurdles title.[16] He was the only Olympic medalist for the Dominican Republic until 45 minutes after his second gold medal, when Luguelín Santos picked up a silver medal in the 400 metres. For his performance in London Sanchez was awarded the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.[17]

Sánchez announced his retirement in April 2016 at the age of 38, citing the recent birth of a son.[2][3][4] He did not compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Competition record

Representing  Dominican Republic
Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1999 Pan American Games Winnipeg, Canada 4th 400 m hurdles 48.60
6th 4 × 400 m relay 3:05.19
World Championships Seville, Spain 23rd (h) 400 m hurdles 49.67
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 20th (sf) 400 m hurdles 49.69
2001 World Indoor Championships Lisbon, Portugal 8th (sf) 400 m 47.29
World Championships Edmonton, Canada 1st 400 m hurdles 47.49
Goodwill Games Brisbane, Australia 1st 400 m hurdles 48.47
2002 Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador, El Salvador 1st 4 × 400 m relay 3:04.15
2003 Pan American Games Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 1st 400 m hurdles 48.19
3rd 4 × 400 m relay 3:02.02
World Championships Paris, France 1st 400 m hurdles 47.25
4 × 400 m relay DQ
2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece 1st 400 m hurdles 47.63
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 8th 400 m hurdles DNF
2006 Central American and Caribbean Games Cartagena, Colombia 4th 400 m hurdles 50.45
3rd 4 × 400 metres relay 3:03.25
2007 Pan American Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4th 400 m hurdles 49.28
3rd 4 × 400 m relay 3:02.48
World Championships Osaka, Japan 2nd 400 m hurdles 48.01
7th 4 × 400 m relay 3:03.56
2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China 22nd (h) 400 m hurdles 51.10
2009 Central American and Caribbean Championships Havana, Cuba 2nd 400 m hurdles 48.85
World Championships Berlin, Germany 8th 400 m hurdles 50.11
6th 4 × 400 m relay 3:02.47
2010 World Indoor Championships Doha, Qatar 3rd (h) 4 × 400 m relay 3:06.30 (iNR)
Central American and Caribbean Games Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 4th 400 m hurdles 50.08
2011 Central American and Caribbean Championships Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 2nd 400 m hurdles 49.41
World Championships Daegu, South Korea 4th 400 m hurdles 48.87
Pan American Games Guadalajara, Mexico 3rd 400 m hurdles 48.85
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 1st 400 m hurdles 47.63
4 × 400m relay DQ
2013 Central American and Caribbean Championships Morelia, Mexico 3rd 4 × 400 m relay 3:02.82
World Championships Moscow, Russia 5th 400 m hurdles 48.22
2015 NACAC Championships San José, Costa Rica 5th 400m hurdles 50.23


  1. ^ "California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office > Newsroom > Notable Alumni > FelixSanchez". Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Double Olympic champion Felix Sanchez retires | NEWS | World Athletics".
  3. ^ a b "'Super Sanchez' announces retirement".
  4. ^ a b "Olympic champion Felix Sanchez retires at 38".
  5. ^ Felix Sanchez Archived July 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Sports Reference. Retrieved on June 30, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Player Bio: Felix Sanchez :: Men's Outdoor Track". Archived from the original on May 26, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2008.
  7. ^ "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d "Felix Sanchez". www.london2012.com. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  9. ^ How does it feel to win $1m?. Spikes. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  10. ^ Felix Sanchez wins first gold medal for Dominican Republic. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved on July 11, 2009. Archived October 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Gonzalez, David (2003-08-08). Games Lift Spirits in Santo Domingo. The New York Times. Retrieved on July 11, 2009.
  12. ^ Felix Sanchez coming home to NYC for Reebok Grand Prix. Cool Running. Retrieved on July 11, 2009. Archived August 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Felix Sanchez donates flashing wristband to the IAAF. Retrieved on September 27, 2011. Archived December 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Leg injury sees Sanchez's three-year win streak end. Retrieved on September 27, 2011.
  15. ^ "'Superman' Sanchez regains Olympic 400m hurdles title". The Times Of India. Archived from the original on August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "London 2012 Olympics: James secures 400m crown as Greene misses hurdles medal". www.athleticsweekly.com. Archived from the original on August 9, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Laureus World Sports Awards 2013: The Winners | Laureus

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Preceded by
CAC Male Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Olympic Games
Preceded by Flagbearer for  Dominican Republic
Athens 2004
Beijing 2008
Succeeded by