Jun 21, 2024

Luis Enrique Zayas has one of the nine direct spots that, to date, have been granted for Paris 2024 in the men’s high jump.

He got it at the World Championships in Budapest in 2023, with a record of 2.33 meters, which placed him fourth in the final of the event.

Zayas, 27 years old, has achieved several successes throughout his career, including being world junior champion, winner of the Pan American Games twice and world finalist three times.

In addition to the tangible, the Cuban has shown that he has in his DNA the ability to grow in complex moments. He likes strategy, going against the tide and achieving results that, a priori, might seem impossible.

A man of great moments, who will go to these Olympic Games with the illusion of adding another beautiful performance to his list of conquests.


“My day starts with training from eight-thirty in the morning until eleven o’clock. Then, at home, I help my girlfriend cook, play video games, watch movies or Netflix. These are my daily habits.”

“Training is the most demanding part of my day, as the mornings are very intense. Sometimes I get home without feeling like doing anything, but thanks to my partner (Cuban athlete Roxana Gómez Calderón), we manage to handle the household chores.


Injuries have been the biggest obstacle. I suffered a serious injury when I was 19 years old, after being U-20 world champion with a jump of 2.27 meters. Injuries can lower the level of any athlete. To overcome them, it is crucial to be psychologically prepared, to know what is happening and how to recover. I personally watch a lot of videos of myself, allowing me to observe my performance to help me maintain my physical and mental fitness.”


I have a thorn in my side since 2021, but I have always dreamed of being a world champion or Olympic medalist. I have already been champion of America twice, and now my goal is to conquer the world. I work hard every year to achieve these goals, although sometimes I feel frustrated because things don’t always work out the way I expect.

It is still remembered with special fondness how Zayas was one of the last athletes enlisted for the Pan American Games in Lima, and turned this opportunity into an unexpected title.

There he became the fourth Cuban to win the high jump at the Pan American Games, following in the footsteps of Juan Francisco Centelles (Caracas 1983), Javier Sotomayor (Indianapolis 1987, Havana 1991 and Mar del Plata 1995) and Víctor Moya (Rio de Janeiro 2007). In 2023, he repeated the title in Santiago de Chile.

This achievement not only represented a personal victory, but was also a source of inspiration, highlighting the importance of self-improvement and dedication.


“The main objective is to reach the final, since in 2021 I didn’t make it. Being in the final is fundamental and, once there, anything can happen. I have also changed my mentality; now I think big and reach higher goals. Every day I strive to improve and win more medals and victories.


“The high jump has shaped me as a person and as a professional. I have met many people and learned a lot. Athletics has really made me what I am today, leaving a significant mark on my life.


That time is money. Every moment in life is important. Every millisecond, counts and can make a big difference in the future.”

Written by Lilyan Cid


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