Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

59. Dayron Robles


It's easy to forget that Guantánamo is more than a controversial U.S. prison site. The Cuban province has inspired popular songs like Guantanamera and turns out famous athletes like Robles, the world record-holder in the 110m hurdles (12.87 seconds). Robles will be part of a marquee showdown in Beijing against defending Olympic champion Liu Xiang, a hero in China whose own world record Robles broke in June by .01 sec. A product of communist Cuba's national sports school system, the bespectacled Robles is less experienced — in March he stopped during an important indoor race after what he thought was a false start — but he's motivated by the gold and bronze Cuba won in his event the past two Olympics. In a letter he posted on the Internet last month, he wrote, "I want to keep Cuba on the podium." And put Guantánamo on the sports map again.