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Joaquim Cruz

Full name: Joaquim Carvalho Cruz
Gender: Male
Height: 6-1.5 (187 cm)
Weight: 163 lbs (74 kg)
Born: March 12, 1963 in Taguatinga, Distrito Federal, Brazil
Affiliations: Reebok/Team Nike/Funilense
Country: BRA Brazil
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold, 1 Silver (2 Total)

Biography

A son of a steel worker, Joaquim Cruz began running as a 13-year-old and soon showed astonishing talent as a junior. After setting a junior world record of 1:44.3 min in 1981, he received a scholarship for the University of Oregon in 1983 and won the 1983 NCAA title. He also competed at the inaugural World Championships in 1983, winning bronze in the 800 m. The following year Cruz became one of only a few people to win the 800/1,500 m double at the 1984 NCAA Championships and went to the 1984 Olympics as one of the 800 metre favorites, along with world record holder Seb Coe of Britain. In the last turn of the 800 metre final, Cruz started a sprint from third place and took the lead, never losing it. He crossed the line in 1:43.00, breaking Alberto Juantorena's Olympic Record and making him the first Brazilian Olympic track and field gold medalist since triple jumper Adhemar da Silva won in both 1952 and 1956. Cruz had a remarkable five day stretch of racing for a few weeks after the Olympic Games. First, he ran a Brazilian 800 m record of 1:42.34 at the Weltklasse meet in Zürich, becoming only the second runner in history to break 1:43. Two days later he ran 1:42.41 at the Van Damme meet in Brussels and then, two days after that, at a meeting in Cologne, Cruz ran the second fastest 800 meters in history at that time, his time of 1:41.77 only 4/100th’s outside of Coe's world record. By the end of 1984 he was the NCAA champion, the Olympic champion, undefeated in all seven of his 800 meter finals, had run the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th fastest 800 meter times in history, and was easily ranked #1 in the world for 800 meters by Track & Field News. In 1985 Cruz repeated as world #1 in the 800. In the following two years he struggled with injuries and raced little, although he did manage to win gold in the 1,500 at the 1987 Pan American Games. At the 1988 Summer Olympics Cruz appeared to be on his way to retain his Olympic 800 metre title when he was passed by Kenyan runner Paul Ereng, leaving Cruz with the silver medal. Troubled by Achilles' tendon injuries, Cruz was never again able to reach the international top level. In 1993 he tried to make a comeback and started over 1,500 m at various Grand Prix races in Europe but failed to make a major impact. His last victory of significance came in the 1,500 metres at the 1995 Pan American Games.

Personal Bests: 800 – 1:41.77 (1984); 1500 – 3:34.63 (1988).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 800 metres Brazil BRA 1 Gold OR
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 1,500 metres Brazil BRA 1 h4 r1/3
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Men's 800 metres Brazil BRA 2 Silver
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Men's 1,500 metres Brazil BRA 7 h3 r1/3
1996 Summer 33 Atlanta Athletics Men's 1,500 metres Brazil BRA 8 h2 r1/3

Men's 800 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(A) L
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Brazil Final 1 OR 1:43.00 6
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Brazil Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU 1:43.82 2
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Brazil Quarter-Finals Heat Three 1 QU 1:44.84 1
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Brazil Round One Heat Five 1 QU 1:45.66 1
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Brazil Final 2 1:43.90 6
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Brazil Semi-Finals Heat One 2 QU 1:44.75 4
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Brazil Quarter-Finals Heat One 1 QU 1:46.10 4
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Brazil Round One Heat Nine 1 QU 1:47.16 4

Men's 1,500 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(A)
1984 Summer 21 Los Angeles Athletics Brazil Round One Heat Four 1 QU 3:41.01
1988 Summer 25 Seoul Athletics Brazil Round One Heat Three 7 QC 3:40.92
1996 Summer 33 Atlanta Athletics Brazil Round One Heat Two 8 3:45.32
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