As an entrepreneur and innovator, he has developed other focuses throughout his life that deviate from the world of sports.
dayron robles
Dayron Robles catching air in Havana. Photo: Jonah Elkowitz

Dayron Robles, otherwise known as “The Champion,” is a well-known athlete and entrepreneur from Cuba.

Professional athlete Dayron Robles was born in Guantanamo and currently resides in Havana, Cuba. The Olympic track & field star first gained an interest in running at a young age. “Since I was a child, I always liked the concept of competition,” he told us. To him, competition is a pleasure, and the ability to win created a never-ending cycle of participation: Once he started to win competitions, he became motivated to keep winning, and in order to do so, continued his training. His constant drive to succeed has catalyzed his professional career. Dayron felt that his adversaries were continuously looking at him as a target to measure themselves against. 

Even on the world stage, Dayron set himself apart from his competitors and continued to gain their attention. He won his first international medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Track & Field. He took home the silver medal in the 110 meter hurdles. Dayron went on to compete in Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Germany before winning the gold medal in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. Taking home the gold and holding the world record was life-changing for Robles.

Dayron went on to compete in Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Germany before winning the gold medal in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.

dayron robles
Dayron Robles’ gold medal. Photo: Jonah Elkowitz

Dayron thinks that his coaches in Cuba had a plan for him. He believes that because he was such an obedient child, he did not realize the enormity of their goal for him. They told him to do things in a certain way regarding training and his diet and he obliged. 

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Right up until the pandemic, Dayron was working as a coach in the National Track & Field team. He feels it is his duty and a pleasure to help the new generations of young athletes in Cuba. Dayron says it will always be his priority to be able to contribute to the growth of sports in his country.

“You are not always going to be physically well enough to spend your whole life in sports… sports can be short-lived”

Dayron Robles, Track & Field champion

As an entrepreneur and innovator, he has developed other focuses throughout his life and over the course of the pandemic that deviate from his world of sports. “You are not always going to be physically well enough to spend your whole life in sports… sports can be short-lived,” he said. Especially during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to play sports has been difficult for him. Robles and his family own and manage a farm, rental houses, and a restaurant. Thankfully their success has not been affected by the pandemic. In looking out for the Cuban people, Dayron and his family aim to offer affordable food at their cafe. Dayron supplies jobs to help out in his community by providing the people with motivation and opportunity.

dayron robles
Dayron Robles with his gold medal. Photo: Jonah Elkowitz

An Olympic champion could reside anywhere in the world after achieving such incredible success. Dayron Robles is a kind, strong, intelligent, loyal human being. He is respected around Cuba not only for his athletic accomplishments, but because of the creative entrepreneur that he is. He lives to take care of his family and never forgets to look out for the people of Cuba.

By Evan and Jonah Elkowitz

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Evan Elkowitz is a New York stylist and fixture in Cuba’s underground fashion and design scene. After many years as a stay-at-home mom, she began a career as a stylist. She ventured to Cuba for the first time in December 2017 and styled her first photoshoot in Havana. Since then she founded the first Fashion & Arts tour to Havana with the goal of collectivizing her knowledge in order to give an insider's look into the unexpected creative world of Cuban design. She also loves salsa and Cuban music in general!

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  • I along with six other American photographers got to experience Cuban humanism through “The Champion (Dayron Robles).” In August 2018, we stayed 3-days at his property in Central Havana. Robles met us for breakfast each day, which was provided by his family and staff. One evening after a long day of shooting, he welcomed us back with cool drinks and a tour of the properties roof-top which he was renovating at the time. His generosity seemed to have no bounds, he even extended his local contacts to help us meet our needs. We definitely stood on the shoulders of a champion while in Havana, one with amazing humility and a big bright smile. Mucho Gracias Hermano!

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