Javier Sotomayor

Cuban high-jumper Javier Sotomayor recorded the three highest ever jumps and his 1993 world record remains to this day, his title laden career however will be forever tarnished by positive doping tests in 1999 and 2001.

When cocaine was found in his system at the 1999 Pan American Games, he was fortunate to see a lengthy ban reduced to two years which enabled him to compete at the 2000 Sydney Games where he finished second.

However a second positive test this time for nandrolone in July, 2001 in Spain again threw his career into controversy but ironically came just months after his retirement.

In another twist, the IAAF revealed in October, 2002 that Sotomayor had admitted to taking banned substances again tarnishing his reputation.

Prevented from going to the Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988 due to his country's boycott, Cuba's Javier Sotomayor finally demonstrated his capabilities to an Olympic audience in 1992 at Barcelona with his one and only Olympic title.

Prior to Barcelona and during the Los Angeles Games in 1984, the man known as the "Limonar cat" improved his own personal best to 2.33m, despite only being 16 years old.

But his chances of winning a medal were much more likely in 1988. A few days before the Games, on September 8, Sotomayor established a new world record in Salamanca, Spain with a jump of 2.43m, effectively making his win in Seoul a formality until the boycott ruined his hopes.

Since then the Cuban laid claim to several world records which he has bettered on two occasions: in 1989 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2.44m) and in 1993 at the Salamanca meeting (2.45m). This record still stands.

Numerous ruptures on his ankle and his left knee temporarily slowed his progress in 1996, resulting in his disappointing 11th place at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. But the following year in the Athens world championships, Sotomayor truly soared, winning first place with a jump of 2.37m.

During his final appearance at the world championships in Edmonton in 2001, he could only manage a fourth-place finish in a competition won by German Martin Buss (2.36m).

His spectacular career has seen him make 21 leaps of at least 2.40m.

Javier Sotomayor of Cuba waves to crowd after receiving his gold medal in the high jump 30 July 1999 at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. Sotomayor won with a jump of 2.30 meters. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES

High jump world record holder Cuban Javier Sotomayor arrives at the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) headquarters in Monaco 07 April 2000, to be questionned by an investigation commission. Sotomayor was suspended after being test positive in July 1999, during the Pan-American games in Winnipeg.

Javier Sotomayor of Cuba attempts to jump 2.37m in the high-jump competition 02 August, 1992 in Barcelona, Spain. Sotomayor failed at that height, but won the gold medal with a jump of 2.34m.

Track star Javier Sotomayor clears the bar in the high jump 16 May during the Memorial Barrientos track and field event in Havana. AFP PHOTO/Adalberto ROQUE.

Cuba's Javier Sotomayor celebrates after clearing 2.37m during men's high jump final at the Athens '97 World Championships in Athletics, 06 August. Sotomayor took gold ahead of Poland's second placed Artur Patyrka and third placed Timothy Forsyth of Australia.

Former world champion Javier Sotomayor of Cuba jumps for 2.33m during the men's high jump final at the 8th World Championships in Athletics 08 August, 2001 at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada. AFP PHOTO/Don EMMERT


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