Cuba is one of the perennial powerhouses in the Summer Games for many reasons. They are one of the few countries that won not only an Olympic medal but a gold medal in their first year of participation.
Cuba first showed up in the Summer Games in 1900 by sending fencer Ramón Fonst to Paris, France. Fonst won a silver medal in men's masters épée and the gold for men's épée. He singlehandedly put Cuba on the map by making Olympic history by winning the gold in their very first Olympic outing. Cuba was ranked 12th from a total of 24 countries that participated that year with just one athlete.
The Cuban delegation to the 1904 Summer Games were completely made of fencers. Ramón Fonst returned to the Summer Games again winning two Olympic medals, this time both gold ones for men's épée and men's foil. Albertson Van Zo Post took the gold for men's singlestick, the silver for men's foil, and the bronze for both men's épée and men's sabre. Manuel Díaz won the gold for men's sabre. Charles Tatham won the men's épée and bronze for men's foil. The 1904 Olympic team was the best that Cuba has ever had so far. The four man team scored a total of nine medals placing Cuba on the third spot overall that year.
Cuba missed a total of seven Summer Games so far (1908, 1912, 1920, 1932, 1936, 1984 and 1988) due to various reasons. But when they are able to send a delegation to the Olympics, they often manage to make an impact. Since their debut in 1900, Cuban athletes have managed to win Olympic medals except for a handful of times. With such a success in the Summer Games, some might be surprised to know that Cuba has never participated in the Winter Games.
- In 1980, super-heavyweight Teófilo Stevenson of Cuba became the first boxer to win in the same weight division three times in a row.
- In 1992, Cuba won seven gold medals in boxing, and the first one ever awarded in baseball.