Félix Sánchez (hurdler)
|Born||August 30, 1977|
New York City, United States
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||73 kg (161 lb)|
|Event(s)||400 meter hurdles, 4 × 400 meters relay|
|College team||USC 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".
The Félix Sánchez Olympic Stadium, the Dominican Republic’s largest stadium, is named after him.
Early life and college
Sánchez was born in New York City to Dominican-born parents and was raised in San Diego, California. 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. 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.
Sánchez opted to represent the Dominican Republic internationally, and made his debut for that nation in the Pan American games in 1999. Between 2001 and 2004 he won 43 races in a row 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.
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. 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.
During his 43-race 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. 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.
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, the same as his winning time in Athens in 2004 and his fastest run for eight years. Sánchez became the oldest man to win the Olympic 400m hurdles title. 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.
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- Laureus World Sports Awards 2013: The Winners | Laureus