Olympic Medals
Games Participations5
First Olympic GamesMunich 1972
Year of Birth1952


Despite being an Olympic Champion, Pietro Mennea is probably best remembered for a race at the 1979 Universiade. Held at the high-altitude track of Mexico City, which had also hosted the 1968 Games, Mennea bettered the 200 metre world record (set at the 1968 Games by Tommie Smith) to 19.72, aided by a favorable 1.8 m/s prevailing wind. His record would hold for nearly 17 years, until it was beaten by Michael Johnson at the Atlanta Olympics. His time is still among the top 10 fastest 200 metres as of January 2012. To his credit, Mennea also beat the low-altitude world record (19.96) the following year. At the Moscow Olympics, he was one of the favorites, even if the Americans had not boycotted the Games. Eventually, he won the gold by only a 0.02 margin, becoming the second Italian to win the 200 title after Livio Berruti in 1960. Earlier in his career, he had claimed three European sprint titles in the 100 (1978) and 200 (1974, 1978), as well as various titles in the Mediterranean Games and Universiade. After a short career break, he also medalled at the 1983 World Championships, in the 200 metres (bronze) and 4x100 relay (silver). After his active career, Pietro Mennea was active for the short-lived )I Democrati) party in Italy, and represented them in the European Parliament between 1999 and 2004.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.01 (1979); 200 – 19.72 (1979); 400 – 45.87 (1977).

Olympic Results

Athlete Olympic Results Content

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