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Javier Culson Pérez (born July 25, 1984[2]) is a Puerto Rican athlete and Olympic bronze medalist who specialises in the 400 metre hurdles. After becoming involved with the discipline in his late teen years, he entered the podium in some regional youth events, including the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships. Culson is a two-time silver medallist at the International Association of Athletics Federations's (IAAF) World Championships and an elite contender in the Samsung Diamond League, where he finished second overall in 2011. He has also garnished medals in events with lower profiles, including the Central American and Caribbean Games and the Ibero-American Championships. He currently holds the record as "the world's fastest man" in that category.[3] Culson also competed at the 2012 Olympics in London winning the bronze medal in the 400-metre hurdles race.[4][5][6] In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Culson made it all the way to the finals of the men's 400m hurdles only to be disqualified by a false start.

Javier Culson
Series400mHaiesRio2016 026 (cropped).jpg
Culson at the 2016 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full nameJavier Culson Pérez
Nationality Puerto Rico
Born (1984-07-25) July 25, 1984 (age 35)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
ResidencePonce, Puerto Rico
EducationColegio Nuestra Señora de Lourdes
Height6 ft 7 in (201 cm)
Weight181 lb (82 kg)
Event(s)400 metre hurdles
Coached byCano Amill[1]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)400 m H: 47.72 s (Ponce 2010)
Updated on August 7, 2016.


Early years and personal lifeEdit

Culson Pérez was born in Barrio Playa, Ponce, Puerto Rico, on 25 July 1984, to Señor Culson and Judith Pérez.[7] One of four siblings, along Javier Ramón Antonio, Judith Marie and Mary Caridad, he was raised solely by his mother in his native Playa de Ponce.[8] Since his birth and throughout his childhood, Culson was a sickly child, suffering from gastritis due to a pronounced line in his abdomen, which limited the types of food that he could eat. This condition, along with an asthma diagnosis, forced him to spend a considerable amount of time in hospitals during his upbringing and extending into his teenager years. To deal with Culson's health and attend to her other children, Judith Pérez left her established job as a nurse at Hospital Oncológico Andrés Grillasca in Ponce and began taking odd jobs, such as babysitting and ironing clothes.[8]

By the time that he was a teenager, all of his siblings were involved in sports. Culson developed an interest in basketball and extreme sports and also entered Long-distance running races. When he was 16 years old, he met Héctor Amill, who trained his sister and soon identified Culson's potential as a hurdles athlete, remaining as his trainer to this day.[9] He completed his high school education at Escuela Jardines de Ponce.[10] Culson then enrolled at American University, where he was part of their athletics team, the Piratas, performing for two years before transferring.[10] Culson then enrolled in the Physical Education program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico,[11][failed verification] where he was active in the Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria (LAI), the apex inter-university league in Puerto Rico. Culson's first daughter, Yarién Culson Corcino, was born on 29 May 2008, and he has been dedicating his victories to her ever since.[12]

Athletic careerEdit

Culson Pérez won his first international gold medal in his home town at the 2006 Ibero-American Championships.[13] He won a bronze medal at the 2007 Summer Universiade with a time of 49.35 seconds. His first major senior tournament was the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. He reached the 400 m hurdles semi-finals at the competition. As one of only six track athletes who made the Puerto Rican Olympic team that year, Culson Pérez competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He progressed to the semi-finals but failed to reach the final.[13]

Culson Pérez began his 2009 pre-season by entering an 800 metres race at Carolina's Clásico de Primavera, winning with a 1:49.95 mark; four seconds over the time required to enter the World Championships in that discipline. In July, he set a personal best of 48.09 seconds in the 400 m hurdles, in the process establishing a Puerto Rican national record.[14] On 18 August 2009, Culson Pérez won the silver medal in the finals of the 400 metres hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany. This is the first Medal for Puerto Rico in Athletics at the IAAF World Championships. Guided by Víctor López, Culson Pérez signed a promotional contract with Michael Johnson's Ultimate Performance Sport Management, joining a small group of elite athletes sponsored by this agency.[15] On 14 January 2010, Culson Pérez was named "Athlete of the Year" by the COPUR.[16]

Culson (foreground) competing in the finals of the 2009 World Championships

Second World Championships medalEdit

After months of inactivity, he began his pre-season preparation, winning the 800 metres race at the Clásico de Primavera with a time of 1:50.13. Culson Pérez opened his 2010 season at the Drake Relays, winning the race with 48.67, one of the best marks of the year up to that point.[17] In his second outing, he recorded 48.48 at the Guadalupe Grand Prix. On 8 May 2010, Culson Pérez established a new personal and national record at the Ponce Grand Prix, breaking the 48-second mark with a 47.72 victory (best overall in the world during the initial part of the season) over Michael Tinsley of the United States (48.46).[18][19] Culson Pérez then went on to earn his second worldwide silver medal on 1 September 2011 when he clocked 48.44 seconds at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.[20][21]

2012 London OlympicsEdit

Culson competed in the 2012 Olympics in London on Friday, 3 August; Saturday 4 August, and Monday 6 August.[5] In interviews from his barrio Playa in Ponce, Puerto Rico, his family reported they would be "glued to their TVs" awaiting the moment Culson made entry into the Olympic stadium.[7] He was also selected to be the flagbearer for the Puerto Rico delegation during the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics.[22] A local reporter stated that, for the ceremony, most businesses in his barrio Playa closed down and "the streets were deserted".[7] Culson scored the best overall time in the first day of competition, winning the highly-competitive heat 5 with a time of 48.33 seconds, and advancing to the semi-finals. This race also recorded the second best time and qualified more athletes than any other heat. Culson won his semifinal over two-time Olympic winner Angelo Taylor running 47.93 seconds.[11] On 6 August 2012 Culson won the bronze medal in the final of the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 48.10 seconds (less than a half-second behind the gold-medal time),[23] winning Puerto Rico's first Olympic medal in 16 years and the first Olympic athletics medal for his country (all other Puerto Rican medals had been won in boxing).

Personal bestsEdit

Event Time (seconds) Records Venue Date
400 metres hurdles 48.29 NR Monaco July 2009
400 metres hurdles 48.09 NR Berlin August 2009
400 metres hurdles 47.72 NR, SB Ponce May 2010
  • All information taken from IAAF profile.[13]


Season Performance Place Date
2012 47.78 London 13/07/2012
2011 48.32 Bruxelles 16/09/2011
2010 47.72 Ponce 08/05/2010
2009 48.09 Berlin 18/08/2009
2009 48.29 Monaco 28/07/2009
2008 48.87 Kingston (NS), JAM 03/05/2008
2007 49.07 Kingston (NS), JAM 05/05/2007
2006 49.48 Carolina, PUR 18/03/2006
2005 50.62 Dorado 12/06/2005
2004 50.77 Barquisimeto 28/05/2004
2003 51.10 Bridgetown 20/07/2003


Other recognitionsEdit

In 2010 he was voted "Puerto Rico's Athlete of the Year".[24][25]

In 2011, he was homaged by the Puerto Rico House of Representatives upon becoming the first Puerto Rican athlete to receive a medal at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.[26]

After euphoric moments when Culson's final London 2012 Olympics race was being watched by Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, Ponce Mayor Maria Melendez, Culson's family and over 3,000 people on a huge screen at Plaza Las Delicias, Culson's home town of Ponce hosted a celebration to his honor upon his return from London on 14 August 2012.[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cano Amill: el secreto mejor guardado. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 32. Issue 1518. Page 8. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  2. ^ Biographies: Culson Javier PUR. IAAF: Home of World Athletes. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  3. ^ Culson: 'Esto es un sueño hecho realidad'. Omar Alfonso and Jason Rodríguez. La Perla del Sur. Year 30. Issue 1490. Page 60. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  4. ^ Entre dioses del Olimpo Javier Culson. Richie Lugo Marrero. (Title in printed version: Consumado el momento: Javier Culson, un playero bronceado para la eternidad.) La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 8 August 2012. Year 30. Issue 1497. Page 4. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b Culson: ante su cita con la historia. Richie Lugo Marrero. (Title in printed version: Javier Culson: Presto para cita con la historia el relámpago ponceño.) La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 1 August 2012. Year 30. Number 1496. Page 4. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  6. ^ Pagán, Estéban (6 August 2012). "Bronce para Culson en 400 metros con vallas". El Nuevo Día.
  7. ^ a b c Saluda a lo lejos una abuela orgullosa. Jason Rodriguez Grafal. (Title in printed version: Desde La Playa de Ponce: Saluda en la Distancia una Abuela Orgullosa.) La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 1 August 2012. Year 30. Number 1496. Page 6. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b Orgullosas Heras del Olimpo: "Yo soy madre de un atleta". Hermes Ayala Noticel 13 May 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  9. ^ Men's 400m Hurdles. Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August: Official London 2012 website. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Biografía de Javier Culson" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ a b Men's 400m Hurdles. Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August: Official London 2012 website. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  12. ^ Carlos Rosa Rosa (22 July 2012). "Nuestra bandera" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Retrieved 3 August 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ a b c Culson Javier biography. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  14. ^ Clavelo Robinson, Javier (2009-05-17). Payne opens season with 13.35 hurdles victory, sprint double for Jones-Ferrette in Ponce. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-05-31.
  15. ^ A los pies de Javier Culson. Elliott Castro Tirado. Claridad: El Periodico de la Nacion Puertorriquena. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  16. ^ Carlos Uriarte González (14 January 2010). "Javier Culson y Zoraida Santiago atletas del año" (PDF). Comité Olímpico de Puerto Rico. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ Esteban Pagán Rivera (25 April 2010). "Javier Culson tiene el mejor tiempo del año en 400 metros con vallas" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Retrieved 25 April 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  18. ^ Sara Del Valle Hernández (8 May 2010). "Deportes: META". Javier Culson vuelve a hacer historia (in Spanish). Puerto Rico: Primera Hora. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  19. ^ Clavelo, Robsin, Javier (2010-05-09). Culson clocks world leading 47.72 in Ponce. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-05-22.
  20. ^ Ponceños recibirán a Culson como héroe. 5 September 2011. El Sur a la Vista. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  21. ^ LJ wins bronze for SA. Archived 30 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Road to London 2012.1 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  22. ^ Culson: 'Esto es un sueño hecho realidad'. Omar Alfonso and Jason Rodríguez. (Title in printed version: Para Javier Culson: "Esto es un sueño hecho realidad.") La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 20 June 2012. Year 30. Number 1490. Page 60. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  23. ^ "2012 London Summer Olympic Games - Results - Sports - Athletics - 400m Hurdles Men". London 2012. International Olympic Committee (IOC). Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  24. ^ Guaynabo, Puerto Rico: El Nuevo Dia. 18 March 2012.
  25. ^ London 2012. Archived 22 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine Official Website of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  26. ^ Olimpiadas 2012: Biografía de Javier Culson. Guaynabo, Puerto Rico: Primera Hora. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  27. ^ Ponce gritó y vitoreó sin contención. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 8 August 2012. (Title in the printed version "Un minuto sin respiración: Ponce se paralizó durante la histórica faena de Javier." Year 30. Issue 1497. Page 6. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. 8 August 2012.") Retrieved 8 August 2012.

External linksEdit

Olympic Games
Preceded by
McWilliams Arroyo
Flagbearer for   Puerto Rico
London 2012
Succeeded by
Jaime Espinal