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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: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Lincoln (USA) / Nike, Beaverton (USA) / Reebok, Canton (USA) / União Esportiva Funilense, Cosmópolis (BRA)
Country: BRA Brazil
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold, 1 Silver (2 Total)

Biography

Joaquim Cruz began running as a 13-year-old, and soon set a junior world record of 1:44.3 for 800 metres in 1981. In 1983 he received a scholarship to the University of Oregon and won the NCAA 800 metre title that same year, adding a bronze medal at the 1983 World Championships. In 1984, Cruz won a rare 800 m/1,500 m double at the NCAA Championships and went to the 1984 Olympics as a favorite in the 800 m, along with world record holder [Seb Coe] of Great Britain. In the 800 metre final, Cruz 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 Ferreira da Silva], who won gold in 1952 and 1956.

After the Olympics, on a European tour, Cruz had one of the great stretches in 800 metre running. At the Weltklasse meet in Zurich he won in 1:42.34, becoming only the second runner in history to break 1:43, and setting a Brazilian record. Two days later he ran 1:42.41 at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, and then two days after that, at a meeting in Köln (Cologne), Cruz ran the second fastest 800 meters in history, his time of 1:41.77 only four hundredths of a second short of Coe’s world record. By the end of 1984, Cruz was NCAA champion, Olympic champion, undefeated in all seven of his 800 metre finals, had run the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th fastest 800 metre times in history, and easily ranked #1 in the world for 800 meters in 1984 by Track & Field News. In 1985 Cruz continued to impress, winning six of his eight 800 metre races, the last three of which were won under 1:43, and again ranked #1 in the world for the year.

Injuries later hindered his training and he never again reached the peaks of 1984-85. He won gold at the 1987 Pan American Games in the 1,500 and a silver in the 800 at the 1988 Olympics, but Achilles’ tendon problems kept him out of competition for several years. He returned to international meets in 1993, with little success, although he did win 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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