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Pietro Mennea

Full name: Pietro Paolo Mennea
Nickname(s): La Freccia del Sud, La Freccia Azurra
Gender: Male
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
Weight: 161 lbs (73 kg)
Born: June 28, 1952 in Barletta, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Italy
Died: March 21, 2013 in Roma, Roma, Italy
Affiliations: AVIS Barletta/Atalanta Rieti/Sisport Fiat Iveco/AC Bergamo
Country: ITA Italy
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold, 2 Bronze (3 Total)

Biography

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).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Men's 200 metres Italy ITA 3 Bronze
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay Italy ITA 8
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Men's 200 metres Italy ITA 4
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay Italy ITA 6
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Men's 100 metres Italy ITA 6 h1 r3/4
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Men's 200 metres Italy ITA 1 Gold
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay Italy ITA 3 Bronze
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 200 metres Italy ITA 7
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay Italy ITA 4
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay Italy ITA 5
1988 Summer 36 Seoul Athletics Men's 200 metres Italy ITA 4 h6 r1/4

Men's 100 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(A) L
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Semi-Finals Heat One 6 10.58 8
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Quarter-Finals Heat One 4 QU 10.27 6
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Round One Heat Two 1 QU 10.56 4

Men's 200 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(A) L RT
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy Final 3 20.30 2
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy Semi-Finals Heat Two 2 QU 20.52 7
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy Quarter-Finals Heat Five 1 QU 20.47 6
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy Round One Heat Four 1 QU 20.53w 7
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy Final 4 20.54 1
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU 20.67 3
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy Quarter-Finals Heat Two 1 QU 20.70 4
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy Round One Heat Five 1 QU 20.93 7
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Final 1 20.19 8
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Semi-Finals Heat Two 1 QU 20.70 2
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Quarter-Finals Heat Four 1 QU 20.60 5
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy Round One Heat Two 1 QU 21.26 6
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy Final 7 20.55 5 0,170
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy Semi-Finals Heat One 3 QU 20.47 6
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy Quarter-Finals Heat Two 2 QU 20.50w 3
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy Round One Heat One 1 QU 20.70 3
1988 Summer 36 Seoul Athletics Italy Round One Heat Six 4 QC 21.10 2

Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(A) L ST
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy ITA Final 8 39.14 2
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy ITA Semi-Finals Heat Two 4 QU 39.21
1972 Summer 20 München Athletics Italy ITA Round One Heat Four 2 QU 39.29
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy ITA Final 6 39.08 5
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy ITA Semi-Finals Heat Two 4 QU 39.39 3
1976 Summer 24 Montréal Athletics Italy ITA Round One Heat One 2 QU 39.35 6
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy ITA Final 4 38.87 3 9,25
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy ITA Semi-Finals Heat One 2 QU 39.32 9,36
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy ITA Round One Heat Two 3 QU 39.87

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(H) ST T(A)
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy ITA Final 3 3:04.3 45,2
1980 Summer 28 Moskva Athletics Italy ITA Round One Heat Two 3 QC 3:03.5
1984 Summer 32 Los Angeles Athletics Italy ITA Final 5 44,95 3:01.44