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News15 Dec 2007

Pedroso officially retires

Ivan Pedroso of Cuba in action in the men's Long Jump qualification

After much speculation and rumour in the last few months, Ivan Pedroso, who will turn 35-years-old on 17 December, has officially confirmed his retirement after an illustriously successful career.

The Cuban has certainly left his trademark as one of the greatest long jumpers of all-time with an illustrious CV that includes nine World titles and the Olympic gold in Sydney 2000.

As a tribute to Pedroso, the following summary highlights his ups and downs and some of the key dates in his athletic life.

Pedroso has entered a new phase as an athletics official, joining the Cuban team currently training in Guatemala. He is enjoying his new role and enjoying a special week as his son turned 7 on Friday (14) and Pedroso himself will be 35 on Monday (17).


Born on December 17, 1972 in Havana, Iván Lázaro Pedroso Soler took up the sport as a middle distance runner, under the aegis of his first coach José Viera. The latter recommended him to former long jumper Milán Matos, who met him at the Cerro Pelado EIDE Sports School in Havana.

Matos discovered the young kid's potential for the long jump and that was the beginning of a long-standing coach-athlete relationship that rendered outstanding results.

He entered the national lists in 1988, at the age of 15, with 7.43. Matos was transferred to the athletic academy in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba and Pedroso followed him.

He made his international debut in 1990 with a silver medal at the CAC Junior Championships in Havana, followed by his first experience overseas with a 4 th place at the World Junior Champs in Plovdiv.

World Championships

Pedroso has the most impressive pedigree of any long jumper in the history of the World Championships, his achievements only overshadowed by the duel between USA's Mike Powell and Carl Lewis in Tokyo'91, where the former bettered the World record.

The Cuban maintained his string of five indoor and four indoor consecutive victories from 1993 to 2001. Indoors, he went undefeated in Toronto'93, Barcelona'95, Paris'97, Maebashi'99 and Lisbon’01.

In Maebashi, he leapt 8.62 in the last round to overtake Spain's Yago Lamela (8.56) and move to the second place on the all-time indoor lists.

Oudoors, he missed the 1993 final through injury, but dominated in Göteborg'95, Athens'97, Sevilla'99 and Edmonton 2001.

He was honoured during the opening ceremony of the 2005 World Champs in Helsinki as one of the most decorated athletes in the IAAF's premier event.

Olympic Games

Pedroso made his Olympic debut at the age of 19 with a fourth place in Barcelona 1992, behind Americans Carl Lewis, Mike Powell and Joe Greene. In Atlanta'96, he could not recover from hamstring surgery and only managed to finished 12th in the final.

Four years later, Pedroso finally enjoyed the Olympic glory after beating Australia's Jay Taurima in an epic battle. Taurima moved to 1st in the last round with a personal best of 8.49m, but the Cuban showed his stamina in front of a 100,000 plus crowd and landed at 8.55m before he started crying with joy.

There were mixed feeling for the Cuban in 2000, who became a father but also lost his mom in the same Olympic year.

He finished 7th in Athens 2004 and was aiming to attend his fifth Olympics in Beijing 2008 before making his decision to retire.

Other victories

In his extensive and successful career, Pedroso also claimed three Pan American Games titles and the CAC Games gold in Maracaibo, as well as two Goodwill Games crowns in 1998 and 2001.

At the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata'95, he had a narrow foul at 9.03m at the 1995 Pan-American Games.

He lived his best season in 1995 when he jumped his two legal 8.70 leaps and reached 8.96 at high altitude Sestriere. This was shown to have a wind of just 1.2 m/s, but the mark was not recognised as a World record after irregularities with the operation of the gauge

In the 1993-2000, he only suffered 10 losses: five vs. Jamaica's James Beckford, four vs. USA's Mike Powell and one to Bulgaria's Ivalo Mladenov.

The saddest day for him could be said to have been 9 March 1996 a cold afternoon in Havana, when he sustained a hamstring injury on his first attempt while competing at the National Champs. That took him out of contention for the 1996 Olympics.

Many believe that serious injury, which forced him to undergo surgery, prevented him from becoming the first man to break the nine metre barrier.

Pedroso vs. Lewis and Powell

As of 2007, Pedroso ranks seventh on the all-time lists with a Central American and Caribbean record of 8.71, set in Salamanca, on July 18, 1995.

He also established a record of 18 consecutive seasons jumping over eight meters, from 1990 to 2007.

He leads all jumpers with most leaps over 8.40 (56), second over 8.50 (30), 8.60 (11) and 8.70 (2).

He faced World record holder Mike Powell 11 times, with seven wins for the American. Pedroso's all four wins came in 1995, including the World Champs in Gothenburg.

He only competed twice with Carl Lewis, who prevailed at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

Pedroso has an average of 8.63m, only behind Carl Lewis (8.78) and ahead of Powell (8.61) and Larry Myricks (8.59).

Pedroso last competed at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, last July. On a rainy night, he failed to defend his three consecutive continental titles and was knocked off the podium in the last round. His 7.86m was insufficient to grant him his eighth consecutive World Championship appearance. 

Less charismatic than other Cuban greats like Javier Sotomayor and Ana Fidelia Quirot, Pedroso made millions of Cubans proud of his achievements and gave his people and thousands of fans worldwide countless of happy days to remember. Thanks Pedroso!

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF 
with contributions from Eddy Nápoles

Top honours

2007   4th            Pan American Games

2006   2nd            Central American and Caribbean Games           

2004   7th            Olympic Games

2004   3rd            Iberoamerican Championships

2004   8th            World Indoor Championships

2003   1st            Pan American Games

2002   2nd            World Cup

2001   1st            Goodwill Games

2001   1st            World Championships

2001   1st            World Indoor Championships        

2000   1st            Olympic Games

1999   1st             Grand Prix Final                    

1999   1st            World Championships

1999   1st            Pan American Games           

1999   1st             World Indoor Championships

1998   1st            World Cup

1998   1st            Central American and Caribbean Games

1998   1st            Goodwill Games

1997   1st            IAAF Grand Prix Final

1997   1st             World Championships

1997   1st             World University Games

1997   1st            Central American and Caribbean Championships

1997   1st            World Indoor Championships

1996   12th            Olympic Games

1995   1st            IAAF Grand Prix Final

1995   1st             World Championships

1995   1st            Pan American Games

1995   1st             World Indoor Championships        

1993   1st            World Indoor Championships

1992   1st            World Cup

1992   4th            Olympic Games

1992   1st            Iberoamerican Championships

1991   3rd             Pan American Games

1991   1st             Pan American Junior Championships

1990   4th             World Junior Championships

1990- 2nd             Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships


Yearly Progression

1988-7.43, 1989-7.43, 1990-8.06, 1991-8.22, 1992-8.53/8.79w, 1993-8.49, 1994-8.26!/8.16, 1995-8.71/8.96aw, 1996-8.46!/8.32, 1997-8.63, 1998-8.54 , 1999-8.54, 2000-8.65, 2001-8.43!/8.40, 2002-8.30, 2003-8.31, 2004-8.23, 2005-8.22, 2006-8.15, 2007-8.15

Best jumps in each round

1- 8.68  Lisbon, 17.06.1995
2- 8.71  Salamanca, 18.07.1995
3- 8.60  Praga, 10.06.1997
4- 8.66  Linz, 22.08.1995)
5- 8.55  Bad Cannstatt, 09.07.1995
6- 8.62  Maebashi, 07.03.1999

All his competitions over 8.50

8.71 Salamanca 18.07.1995
8.70  Göteborg 12.08.1995
8.68  Lisboa 17.06.1995
8.66  Linz  22.08.1995
8.65  Jena  03.06.2000
8.63  Padova 08.06.1997
8.60  Zürich 16.08.1995
8.60  Praha 10.06.1997
8.60  Padova 26.06.1999
8.59  Padova 16.07.1995
8.59  Tokyo 15.09.1995
8.59  Stockholm 07.07.1997
8.58  Monaco 25.07.1995
8.56  Lausanne 05.07.1995
8.56  Linz 09.07.1997
8.56  Sevilla 28.08.1999
8.55  Bad Cannstatt 09.07.1995
8.55  Sydney 28.09.2000
8.54  São Paulo 14.05.1995
8.54  Uniondale, NY 20.07.1998
8.53   Sevilla 17.07.1992
8.53   Fukuoka 13.09.1997

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