Luis Oliva was discovered as a good cross country runner when fulfilling his military service. His speed also translated on the track. He won the 3000 m at the 1931 and 1933 South American Championships, and was twice a member of the Argentine Olympic team. In Los Angeles, he competed without much success in the steeplechase, while in Berlin he entered the marathon. Despite training with defending champion Zabala, Oliva was unable to finish the race, and dropped out just before the halfway point. He attempted to qualify for the 1940 Olympics, but when these were cancelled, he switched to a career in physical education. Luis Oliva never won an individual Brazilian title but was on the winning teams in the 1931 and 1933 3,000 metre team races. In the 5,000 metres he was fourth in 1931 and second in 1933 at the Brazilian Nationals. He also set national records in the 3,000 in 1931 and 1932 (8:39.8).
Personal Best\: 3000S – 8:39.8 (1932); Mar – unknown.