Félix Sánchez

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Félix Sánchez
Felix Sanchez Berlin 2009 cropped.JPG
Félix Sánchez at the World Championship Athletics 2009 in Berlin
Personal information
Nationality United States
Born (1977-08-30) August 30, 1977 (age 45)
New York, USA
Residence California, USA
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 73 kg (161 lb)
Sport Running
Event(s) 400 meter hurdles, 4 × 400 meters relay
College team USC Trojans

Félix Sánchez, (born August 30, 1977) is an American track and field athlete of Dominican descent who competes for the Dominican Republic. He specializes in the 400 meter hurdles event, where he is the reigning Olympic champion. He is a two-time Olympic gold medallist, having won the titles in 2004 and 2012. He was also world champion in 2001 and 2003. Just before turning 36, he set the Masters M35 World Record at 48.10. Sanchez has 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.

Early life and college

Sánchez was born in New York City to Dominican-born parents and was raised in San Diego, California.[2] 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.[3][4] 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.[3]

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.[5] Between 2001 and 2004 he won 43 races in a row[5] 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.[6]

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.[7][8] 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.[9]

During his 43-race[5] 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.[5] 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.[10][11]

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,[12] the same as his winning time in Athens in 2004 and his fastest run for eight years.[13] Sánchez became the oldest man to win the Olympic 400m hurdles title.[13] 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.[14]

Competition record

File:2014 IAAF Council Meeting - Felix Sanchez.jpg
Sanchez speaking at the 2014 IAAF Council Meeting
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 4x400m 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
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
  2. Felix Sanchez. Sports Reference. Retrieved on June 30, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Player Bio: Felix Sanchez :: Men's Outdoor Track
  4. "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Retrieved December 25, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Felix Sanchez". www.london2012.com. Retrieved August 10, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. How does it feel to win m?. Spikes Mag. Retrieved on July 11, 2009. Archived January 5, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Felix Sanchez wins first gold medal for Dominican Republic[dead link]. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved on July 11, 2009.
  8. Gonzalez, David (2003-08-08). Games Lift Spirits in Santo Domingo. The New York Times. Retrieved on July 11, 2009.
  9. 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
  10. Felix Sanchez donates flashing wristband to the IAAF[dead link]. Retrieved on September 27, 2011.
  11. Leg injury sees Sanchez's three-year win streak end. Retrieved on September 27, 2011.
  12. "'Superman' Sanchez regains Olympic 400m hurdles title". The Times Of India. Retrieved August 7, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  13. 13.0 13.1 "London 2012 Olympics: James secures 400m crown as Greene misses hurdles medal". www.athleticsweekly.com. Retrieved August 11, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Laureus World Sports Awards 2013: The Winners | Laureus

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Angelo Taylor
Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Kerron Clement
Preceded by
CAC Male Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Asafa Powell
Preceded by
Darren Clarke
Laureus World Comeback of the Year
Succeeded by
Rafael Nadal
Olympic Games
Preceded by
Wanda Rijo
Flagbearer for  Dominican Republic
Athens 2004
Beijing 2008
Succeeded by
Gabriel Mercedes