Luigi BECCALI

Italy ITA

Athletics

  • Olympic Medals
    1 G
    1 B
  • Games participations
    3
  • First Olympic Games
    Amsterdam 1928
  • Year of Birth
    1907
Olympic Results

Biography

Luigi BECCALI

Luigi Beccali was the first Italian to win an Olympic gold in a track race, and the first to win a European Championship title in Athletics. Coached by Dino Nai, a university veterinary lecturer, and representing Pro Patria Milano, he made his debut at the Amsterdam Games but was only fourth in his 1500 m heat. Although he combined athletics with work, he managed to train twice a day, emulating professional training schedules. "Why do they go so fast today, compared to us 40 years ago?" he told Gazzetta dello Sport in 1974. "Because they train more, or rather, it’s the only thing they do. We also had to work. I had already understood then how things were and I trained more than the others, even secretly. Taking advantage of my job situation (I was a council surveyor, responsible for road maintenance, so I was on the road, unsupervised), I would go to the track and allow myself a few kilometres. Then in the afternoon, at the Giuriati track, I would work on speed." The high point of his career was the Los Angeles Games, coming from behind (last 300 m in 41.7) to take the gold in the 1500 m. A year later, he equalled the World Record winning at the Universiad in Turin in 3:49.2. Just a few days later, on 17 September 1933, he became the sole record holder bettering the record at the Milan Arena to 3:49.0, which remained an Italian record for 23 years. In Berlin 1936 he did not manage to repeat his Los Angeles victory; he was outrun after 500 m and settled into third place behind Jack Lovelock and Glenn Cunningham. He moved to the United States and finished his running career in 1941, then became a wine trader. During his career, Beccali also won a gold (1934) and a bronze (1938) in the 1500 m at the European Championships, as well as 10 Italian titles (eight in the 1500 m, one in the 800 m, one in the 5000 m).

Personal Best: 1500 – 3:49.0 (1933).

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Berlin 1936

B
1,500 metres
1,500 metres Athletics
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Los Angeles 1932

G
1,500 metres
1,500 metres Athletics
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Amsterdam 1928

#4 h1 r1/2
1,500 metres
1,500 metres Athletics