Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dominican Republic in 2012 Olympics: Felix Sanchez wins 400 meter hurdles

Felix Sanchez won the 400 meter hurdles gold medal on Monday, eight years after winning the same event in Athens. It was the Dominican Republic's first medal of the 2012 Olympics.

In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics Sanchez got bad news just before the race. His grandmother had died in the Dominican Republic. He said he was very emotional and did not end up making the final at those Olympics. ESPN reported the story here.

So, it is a good redemption story for the Dominican track star Sanchez.

Felix Sanchez is from New York City, and grew up in San Diego before attending USC. He lives in Los Angeles and trains at USC. Under the logic of the International Olympic Committee that makes him Dominican I guess.

The Dominican Baseball Guy is an anthropologist, and I understand some athletes decision to represent the country of their origin. But as an American it is hard to understand why someone that has spent nearly their entire life in the United States identifies more strongly with a country that they have rarely lived in.

While it gives me a slight sense of anger at an athlete that chooses not to represent the United States even though they have lived here their whole life, I am sure it was a tough decision for Sanchez to choose who he would represent. He probably faced pressure from his Dominican family to represent the DR. It is a strange phenomenon that is really only faced by children of immigrants, and possibly transnational families.

But hey, this is the Dominican Baseball Guy blog, so debate over Sanchez's transnational identity aside, congrats to the Dominican Republic for scoring their first gold of the 2012 Olympics.
Dominican hurdler Feliz Sanchez celebrates gold at the 2012 Olympics with his Dominican flag,
photo by Karen Blix on Flickr

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