Rafael Lecuona
Rafael Lecuona
Full Name:  Rafael Lecuona
     Born:  June 2, 1928 in Havana, Cuba
     Died:  June 7, 2014 in San Antonio, Tx

FSU Career
Year  Hgt  Wgt  Cl  Ltr  Hometown
53-54 5-5  128  Fr   *   Havana, Cuba                            
54-55 5-5  128  So   *   Havana, Cuba                            
55-56 5-5  128  Jr   *   Havana, Cuba                            
56-57 5-5  128  Sr   *   Havana, Cuba                            

Gymnast from Havana, Cuba...four-year letterman...an eight-time All-American over three years, earning those honors in the All-Around three different times (1955, 56 and 57)...a three-time Cuban Olympian (1948, 52 and 56)...died in 2014.

Obituary for Dr Rafael A. Lecuona
From the Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 3:17 AM CDT

Dr Rafael Lecuona passed away Saturday June 7, 2014, in San Antonio, on an evening marked by family, friends and music.

A public memorial service will take place in Laredo on a date to be determined and announced soon.

Rafael was born on June 2, 1928, in Havana Cuba, to Josefina Asencio Diaz and Fernando Lecuona Casado.

He was the nephew of renowned Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.

One of Rafael’s earliest jobs in Havana was assistant cashier at the Romeo y Julieta cigar factory in Havana.

Rafael spent much of his younger years in athletic competitions, from street sports to those at a more organized level.

He was a member of a group of gymnast enthusiasts, who taught themselves gymnastic techniques by studying a film they had acquired of the 1936 German Olympic team.

Making their own gymnastics equipment, they were able to compete in the Olympics, and Rafael went on to represent Cuba in the 1948 Olympic games in London, the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, and the 1956 Games in Melbourne.

He also took part in the Pan-American games in Buenos Aires (1951), and Mexico City (1955).

At the 1951 Games, he received a gold medal in the pommel horse event, and a silver medal overall, and in 1955 a silver medal in the pommel horse.

At the 1951 Pan-American games, Rafael made contact with the American Olympian Bill Roetzheim, and this resulted in a scholarship to Florida State University.

At Florida State, he was a member of the gymnastics team 1953-1956, serving as team captain in his last year, leading FSU to national championships.

Wikipedia credits him as the first person to introduce to the United States the Russian Moor dismount (pommel horse).

In a 1954 FSU competition with the Swedish Olympic team, he received one of the highest scores recorded for the side horse.

In 1956, Rafael was named to the All-American gymnastics team, pommel event.

After graduating from FSU in 1957 with a degree in business-advertising, Rafael married, started a family and worked at a number of jobs, until he landed a position at the University Grants Office, which allowed him to continue his education.

After Fidel Castro’s take over of Cuba in 1959, he acquired an interest in politics, earning a masters degree in that subject in 1968, and a PhD two years later.

In 1970, Rafael moved with his family to Laredo, where he became a founding member of the faculty at Texas A&I at Laredo, now Texas A&M International University.

His many articles and published works appeared in newspapers and international trade journals.

At the university, he became the first Chair of Arts & Sciences. He retired in 2002, after service of 32 years, as Professor Emeritus.

During retirement, he traveled with his wife and family to many countries in South and Central America, Asia and Europe.

He continued to write and publish articles, as well as translate and contribute to a special book entitled, “Ernesto Lecuona, the Genius and his Music.”

He never returned to Cuba.

Rafael took part in numerous community endeavors in Laredo, served on civic boards, and was a frequent guest commentator on local elections and international politics.

He was most proud of his active association with two organizations related to the interests of his sons, as well as hundreds of young athletes from the area -- coaching the Del Mar Little League and the Laredo Swim Club.

Rafael was pre-deceased by his parents, and his sister, Ilba.

He is survived by his wife, Diana Lecuona; his sons, Mark R Lecuona and Miguel R (Barbara) Lecuona; and their mother, Joan Hagle Gates; grandchildren, Price Lecuona and Wren Lecuona; step-children, Monica (David) Jeffery; Jacqueline (Joseph) Dennington; step-grandchildren, Brittany Meloy, Katherine and Jennifer Dennington; and by his brother, Fernando (Linda) Lecuona and numerous nieces and nephews.

Year  Award
1955  NCAA Championships - Parallel Bars (7th)
      NCAA Championships - All-Around (9th)
1956  NCAA Championships - All-Around (9th)
      NCAA Championships - Side Horse (9th)
      NCAA Championships - Free Exercise (10th)
1957  NCAA Championships - All-Around (6th)
      NCAA Championships - Free Exercise (8th)
      NCAA Championships - Side Horse (9th)

FSU Statistics