Games Participations1
First Olympic GamesLondon 1948
Year of Birth1921


Ottavio Missoni, called Tai by friends and intimates, started as a 400-metre runner in Italy, winning the 1939 Italian Championship and the 1939 World Student Games, and running at the 1938 European Championships, where he failed to get out of the first round. After World War II, he switched to the 400 metre hurdles, winning the Italian Championship in 1947-48 (he had also won in 1941), and placing fourth at the 1950 European Championships in the intermediates. During World War II he served as a soldier and was a British prisoner-of-war in Northern Africa for four years.

After World War II, Missoni starting making wool tracksuits with Giorgio Oberweger, his teammate on the 1948 Olympic team, and the Venjulia tracksuits were worn by the Italian athletics team at the 1948 Olympics. Missoni met his future wife, Rosita Jelmini, while in London for the Olympics, marrying in 1953. They then set up a small knitwear workshop, presenting their first collection in Milano in 1958. Their knitwear became known for its bold colors and variety of patterns. In the 1960s their fashion line became quite popular, with Tai and Rosita Missoni reaching their peak of fashion influence in the 1970s. They later turned the line over to their children. The company has branched out to other brands, forming Missoni Sport, Missoni Home, and the Missoni and Rezidor Hotel Group.

Personal Bests: 400 – 47.8 (1939); 400H – 53.1 (1948).

Olympic Results

Athlete Olympic Results Content

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