Culson Disqualified in Olympics Finals
SAN JUAN—The Olympic dream of hurdles competitor Javier Culson ended in the most crushing way possible, after the athlete was disqualified in the men’s 400-meter hurdle finals Thursday morning due to a false start.
The Ponce-born athlete was among the favorites to win a medal at the finals competition in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after putting in noteworthy times during the preliminaries. Culson, widely considered one of the best hurdles competitors in the world, was hoping to become the first Puerto Rican athlete to capture two Olympic medals.
He won his first Olympic medal, a bronze, at the London 2012 games.
Immediately after the race began, there was a second shot ordering the runners to stop after the false start. At that point, Culson put his hands over his head, having apparently realized he was the cause. Once the race was restarted, Culson sat sobbing by the side of the track before walking off the field of the Olympic Stadium in disbelief.
Kerron Clement, of the United States, finished first in the race with 47.73 seconds, after battling Boniface Tumuti, from Kenya, who finished the race in 47.78 seconds, in the final stretch. Yasmani Copello, from Turkey, came in third with 47.92 seconds.
Moments after the incident, Culson told reporters, “I want to go home. This has never happened to me before, a false alarm. I want to see my daughter, I want to go home.”
Apart from his Olympic bronze medal, Culson has won two silver medals at the Berlin 2009 and Daegu 2011 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships. He also earned silver medals in events at the Central American and Caribbean Games (Mayagüez 2010) and the Panamerican Games (Toronto 2015).