Double Olympic gold medalist Félix Sánchez has had a roller coaster career, and he's got the ink to prove it.

How many tattoos have you got?

"I’ve got three tattoos. My first one I got in 1998, I was twenty-something and I got the superman under my name Felix for Super Sánchez. In 2008 I got the flag of my country, the Dominican Republic, on my heart and then on my neck.

"Going into China, I had a very difficult moment with my grandmother passing away. It was a defining moment in my career that took a lot of strength to get back on the track and continue, so I got the Chinese character for strength, right on my shoulder, on my back.

"Those are the three tattoos and they all have a significant meaning to me. I heard you’re supposed to get tattoos in odd numbers and I won’t get two more, so I’ll stay at three."

 

Felix Sanchez Tattoo ()

 

"I got the superman under my name Felix for Super Sánchez"

Which one is your favourite?

"Probably the ‘strength’ because it defines that moment in my life. It has kind of defined my whole career, my mental fortitude and strength to stay in such a difficult sport. Most athletes have a three to five year window - I’m going in my 14th season. I am planning on doing two more seasons, so possibly nine World Championships, five Olympic games.

"It’s been a long road that’s taken a lot of strength and endurance. It [400m hurdles] is one of the most challenging, difficult races in athletics. Just being able to dominate for so long - to have so many years of injury and doubts and a lot of nay-sayers and then come back and win - is very rare in athletics.

"You either start at the bottom and you make it to the top and retire, or you start at the top and you end up retiring at the bottom. To go up and then down and back up is almost unheard of.

"It took a lot of strength and that tattoo has probably the most meaning to me. I can’t even see it, but I know it’s there."

Why did you choose that spot?

"Because I felt I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had to carry my family and my career. I just felt that the load was on my shoulders, so that was probably the best spot there."

 

Non-tattoo related, you mention two years’ time is the goal for you, is there no chance we might see some Rio Olympic rings?

"No, I wouldn’t do Olympic rings, I think it’s common and, dare I say, cheesy. I think most people who get the Olympic rings are people who want to show they were there. Someone like myself, my career has spoken for itself, I don’t need to say I’ve been to Olympics.

"Hopefully when my career is over, my name will be synonymous with the Olympics, which is saying a lot. But going to five Olympics, potentially winning three medals out of five, that would be a huge moment for me, for my career, for the Dominican Republic and just for the longevity, all I've been through.

"Although, it would be almost fitting to have the five rings of five Olympics and I could put the year of every Olympics in each ring – oh dear, now I just designed it! But no I don’t think I’d do that."

Felix Sanchez ()

 

Super Sánchez won his second Olympic gold at London 2012, eight years after his first in Athens

Speaking of designing, did you design any of the other tattoos?

"Yes, I came up with the design for the flag. I didn’t just want a typical flag, I wanted a flag that was a little battered, just to define my road in all I’ve had to do for my country. I’ve been trying my best to show the world what the Dominican Republic has to offer for many years and then slowly trying to build up athletic history in my country.

"Me winning at 2012 and not even an hour later my compatriot Luguelín Santos winning silver, most people don’t realised the magnitude of that accomplishment.

"When I first came to the Dominican Republic in 1999, there wasn’t even an all-weather surface in my country. So fast forward 13 years, to see someone else in my country win an Olympic medal, and every time I go back, I see so many kids starting off training athletics as their principle sport, it’s just a very special legacy I’m leaving.

"I can retire happily knowing that everything I did was not in vain, and that the culture of athletics is building stronger and stronger in my country. It’s a proud feeling to know that I played a big part in that. I feel confident that there will be presence there after I leave."