Thursday, 26 July 2012

Olympic Profile: Cuba

With the London 2012 Olympic Games one day away now, we thought it would be interesting to see how some of our destinations have fared over the years since the first Olympic Games took place in Athens 1896, with 241 athletes from 14 countries. The games have grown enormously since then and London 2012 will host closer to the 10,500 competitors from 204 countries in Beijing 2008, today's featured country is Cuba.

History

Cuba has an intriguing Olympic history involving boycotts and medals in abundance, especially in recent decades. Cuba first participated in the games in 1900 and since then have sent teams to 18 of the 26 Summer Olympics. They were part of a famous boycott of the 1984 games in L.A and also opted out of the following games in Seoul. They boycotted L.A '84 along with nations such as the Soviet Union, East Germany and Bulgaria due to safety concerns and the attitude of the United States. Cuba's decision to boycott the games came as a shock to the States and they said it was a "serious blow to boxing and baseball."

Cuba really excel in Boxing, and they have an incredible record at the Summer Olympics having amassed 63 medals in the sport. 
32 of these medals have been gold, although they endured a disappointing games in Beijing 2008 as they failed to win a single gold, despite winning 8 boxing medals in total. 


    
The late Teofilo Stevenson, a legend of Cuban boxing
 Raul Fernandez has been training the nations top boxers for three decades and is sure that they will return from London with a better haul of gold medals this time round. Teofilo Stevenson was a legendary Cuban Olympic boxer and he became the first boxer in history to win 3 gold medals in the same class, winning in 1972, 1976 & 1980, Stevenson sadly passed away earlier this year, aged 60.

Boxing plays a huge role in Cuban society and fighters are often put into the ring at the age of 9. There is no professional boxing in Cuba and their boxers are taught to box for the love of it and to do their families and country proud. Fernandez says that this will and heart is worth a fistful of medals and so it has proved in decades gone by.


   
Dayron Robles (right), powers to Olympic gold in Beijing
Star Athlete & Medal Hopes

Along with a long list of medal hopes across a range of sports including many in boxing, Cuba have a real star on the track in the 110m hurdles. The 110m hurdles should prove to be an incredible spectacle in London, with the three fastest ever sprint hurdlers set to go head-to-head.

One of those three is the world record holder, Dayron Robles of Cuba who has gone as quick as 12.87 over the distance. Robles won gold in Beijing, but one of his closest rivals, Lui Xiang, also the home favourite limped out in the heats. That proved to be Cuba's only gold medal in athletics and they would hope to build on that in London.


We have a range photography and singing dates available for you to enjoy the soulful rhythm of Cuba for yourself in 2012 & 2013, all accompanied by our fantastic professional tutors and local guides.


For more information on our Cuba holidays or any of our other destinations please visit: www.authenticadventures.co.uk or call 01453 328 823 to order a brochure, make a booking or with any other enquiries.