Anthony Zambrano follows in Ximena Restrepo’s footsteps, wins silver in men’s 400 meter final
Zambrano is the third Colombian to ever win a medal in athletics at the Olympics. The first came in 1992 in the women’s 400 meter final.
When thinking about the best nations to compete in track and field, Colombia is likely not the first, second or third country to come to mind.
Before Tokyo 2020, the country had only won three athletics medals since debuting at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The count is now four, as sprinter Anthony Zambrano won the silver medal in the men’s 400m final in Tokyo.
With the triumph, Zambrano is also the first Colombian man to bring home an Olympic athletics medal.
The first-ever athletics medal came 60 years after the country’s debut at the Olympics.
At the 1992 Barcelona Games, the country’s faith was put in 23-year-old Ximena Restrepo, who competed in the women’s 400m final that year.
Restrepo had come into the 1992 Games a former South American champion and junior champion in 1987, a silver medalist in the Pan American Games in 1991 and a gold medalist in the women’s 400m at the Ibero-American Games the same year as Barcelona..
She was confident, but knew she needed her best to compete with the world’s best.
In the end, that’s what Restrepo gave, and she finished in third, behind France’s Marie-José Pérec in first and the Unified Team’s Olga Bryzgina in second, with a time of 49.64.
The time is still the best-ever in a 400m for a woman from South America and cemented Restrepo in the continent’s history as one of its greatest women sprinters.
For Colombia, she won the country’s first-ever athletics medal at the Olympics and became the first Colombian woman to ever win an Olympic medal.
Restrepo wouldn’t be bested until the 2012 London Games, when Caterine Ibargüen took home a silver medal in the triple jump. Ibargüen followed that performance by taking home a gold in the triple jump at the 2016 Rio Games.
But on the track, 29 years after Restrepo’s historic triumph, Zambrano followed in her footsteps in the men’s 400m final at Tokyo at the same tender age of 23.