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Javier Culson
Series400mHaiesRio2016 026 (cropped).jpg
Culson at the 2016 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full name Javier Culson Pérez
Nationality  Puerto Rico
Born (1984-07-25) 25 July 1984 (age 39)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Residence Ponce, Puerto Rico
Height 6 ft 7 in
Weight 181 lb
Sport Hurdling
Event(s) 400 metre hurdles
Coached by Héctor "Cano" Amill Alicea
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 400 m H: 47.72 s (Ponce 2010)
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  Puerto Rico
Olympic Games
Bronze 2012 London 400 m hurdles
World Championships
Silver 2009 Berlin 400 m hurdles
Silver 2011 Daegu 400 m hurdles
Pan American Games
Silver 2015 Toronto 400 m hurdles
Central American and Caribbean Games
Silver 2010 Mayaguez 400 m hurdles
Central American and Caribbean Championships
Gold 2009 Havana 400 m hurdles
NACAC Championships
Gold 2015 Costa Rica 400 m hurdles
Bronze 2007 San Salvador 400 m hurdles
Ibero-American Championships
Gold 2006 Puerto Rico 400 m hurdles
Pan American Junior Championships
Bronze 2003 Bridgetown 400 m hurdles
Representing Americas (orthographic projection).svg Americas
Continental Cup
Silver 2010 Split 400 m hurdles
Bronze 2014 Marrakech 400 m hurdles
Bronze 2014 Marrakech 4×400 m relay
Updated on 7 August 2016.

Javier Culson Pérez (born 25 July 1984) is a Puerto Rican athlete and Olympiad 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. Culson also competed at the 2012 Olympics in London winning the bronze medal in the 400-metre hurdles race. 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.

Early years and personal life

Culson Pérez was born in Barrio Playa, Ponce, Puerto Rico, on 25 July 1984, to Señor Culson and Judith Pérez. 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. 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.

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. He completed his high school education at Escuela Jardines de Ponce. Culson then enrolled at American University, where he was part of their athletics team, the Piratas, performing for two years before transferring. Culson then enrolled in the Physical Education program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, 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.

Athletic career

Culson Pérez won his first international gold medal in his home town at the 2006 Ibero-American Championships. 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.

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. 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. On 14 January 2010, Culson Pérez was named "Athlete of the Year" by the COPUR.

400 m hurdles Kerron Clement Berlin 2009
Culson (foreground) competing in the finals of the 2009 World Championships

Second World Championships medal

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. 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). 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.

2012 London Olympics

Culson competed in the 2012 Olympics in London on Friday, 3 August; Saturday 4 August, and Monday 6 August. 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. He was also selected to be the flagbearer for the Puerto Rico delegation during the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics. A local reporter stated that, for the ceremony, most businesses in his barrio Playa closed down and "the streets were deserted". 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. 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), 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 bests

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.


Season Performance Place Date
2012 47.78 London 13 July 2012
2011 48.32 Bruxelles 16 September 2011
2010 47.72 Ponce 8 May 2010
2009 48.09 Berlin 18 August 2009
2009 48.29 Monaco 28 July 2009
2008 48.87 Kingston (NS), JAM 3 May 2008
2007 49.07 Kingston (NS), JAM 5 May 2007
2006 49.48 Carolina, PUR 18 March 2006
2005 50.62 Dorado 12 June 2005
2004 50.77 Barquisimeto 28 May 2004
2003 51.10 Bridgetown 20 July 2003


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2003 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships Bridgetown, Barbados 3rd 400 metres hurdles 51.10
2004 Ibero-American Championships Huelva, Spain 9th 53.66
2006 Ibero-American Championships Ponce, Puerto Rico 1st 49.71
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 19th 49.64
Pan American Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 6th 49.46
NACAC Championships San Salvador, El Salvador 3rd 49.31
2008 XXIX Olympiad Beijing, China 8th 49.85
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 2nd 48.09
Central American and Caribbean Championships in Athletics Havana, Cuba 1st 48.51
2010 Continental Cup Split, Croatia 2nd 48.08
Central American and Caribbean Games Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 2nd 48.58
2011 Central American and Caribbean Championships in Athletics 4th 50.27
World Championships Daegu, South Korea 2nd 48.44
2012 XXX Olympiad London, United Kingdom 3rd 48.10
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 6th 48.38
2014 Continental Cup Marrakech, Morocco 3rd 48.88
3rd 4 × 400 metres relay 3:02.78
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 18th 400 metres hurdles 49.36
Pan American Games Toronto, Canada 2nd 48.67
NACAC Championships San José, Costa Rica 1st 48.70
2016 Summer Olympics Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4th (sf) 48.461
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 27th (h) 50.33

1Disqualified in the final

Other recognitions

In 2010 he was voted "Puerto Rico's Athlete of the Year".

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.

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.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Javier Culson para niños

  • List of Puerto Ricans
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