Classy Culson sets sights on Rio 2016
Culson was clearly disappointed immediately after his 400-meter hurdles finals run on Monday, when he was passed down the stretch by the Dominican Republic’s Félix Sánchez and American Michael Tinsley.
Culson, 28, collapsed to the track in disappointment after Monday’s race, despite it being his island’s first ever Olympic medal outside of boxing.
“It was a very bad run on my behalf,” said Culson, who will be 32 years old when the next summer Olympics roll around in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“I’m not pleased with it at all. I lost my rhythm towards the end of the race and I couldn’t get it back. I send my apologies to the people back home but at least I made it to the final,” he said Monday.
That race was the first loss of the year for the Ponce native and marked the end of his quest to become the first Puerto Rican to win Olympic gold in any sport. Still, he made history by capturing the bronze to become the only islander to ever medal in an Olympic track & field event.
By Tuesday, Culson appeared to have taken stock of his historic performance, which was made tougher by having to shoulder the hopes of millions of Puerto Ricans on the island and stateside.
“I couldn’t sleep last night after what happened, but I have been reflecting today and I am content that I did my best,” Culson said Tuesday. “I didn’t win the gold, but I united the people of Puerto Rico and made history.”
Back home in Puerto Rico, Culson’s legion of fans celebrated his bronze medal and the class with which their sports hero carried himself despite his personal disappointment. He is sure to get a boisterous welcome when he arrives back on the island next week.
He had high praise for Sánchez, who at 34-years old claimed a second Olympic 400-meter hurdles gold medal to match the one he won in Athens in 2004.
“I knew the race was between us,” Culson said. “It was his turn this time and I’m happy for that because he has overcome many injuries in recent years. I’m a huge fan.”
Culson looks to draw more inspiration from Sánchez as he sets his sights on making his third Olympics and aims to shine even brighter in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“Of course I’m going there,” he said. “I’m 28 and look how Félix won at 34. He is an example of perseverance. The world hasn’t ended.”