Felix Sanchez won the Dominican Republic’s first medal for the London Olympics. The country is widely celebrating its only medal — and a gold one at that. With the tender memory of Sanchez’s grandmother at the forefront, he ran a race worthy of a winner. He and Andrew Taylor have traded off wins in the last four Olympic Games, but this time, it was Sanchez who prevailed, eight years after his previous gold. Taylor wound up in fifth place, not the finish a two-time Olympic gold medalist wants.
All the glory rightly went to Sanchez, though. He looked strong through the single-lap event, gracing the hurdles with ease. Not only is he the third man to repeat as a winner in the event, but he is also the oldest winner in the event in Olympic history. Originally slated for a baseball career, Sanchez is now accustomed to knocking his track races out of the park. Upon crossing first, he fell to the ground in tears, kissing a picture of his grandma, who had died back in 2008. This race, he said, was dedicated to her. Tucking the picture back under his uniform, he happily ran over to the stands to revel in the moment.
Michael Tinsley of the US won the silver, which was somewhat unexpected. He had already run a personal best in the semifinals before coming back to run a near-perfect race at just the right time. Sanchez and he were the only two runners to break 48 seconds in the race. It was his kick after the final hurdle that vaulted him to the front of the pack. Meanwhile, Javier Culson of Puerto Rico made his way to the podium with the bronze — his first Olympic medal. Similar to Sanchez, Culson dedicated his race to another special lady: his four-year-old daughter. He represents the first Olympic medal for his country in 16 years.
These young men each ran with power and purpose. They will return home as respective heroes for their countries.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)