Francisco Lázaro

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameFrancisco "Francisco Lázaro"•da Silva
Used name•Francisco Lázaro
Nick/petnamesChico do Lázaro
Born21 January 1888 in Lisboa (POR)
Died15 July 1912 in Stockholm (SWE)
AffiliationsSporting CP, Lisboa (POR)
NOC Portugal


The legendary first marathon runner, Pheidippides, died after completing his run. The modern Olympics revived the legend in 1896 and, sadly, a death also occurred in an Olympic marathon. Lázaro, Portugal’s best long distance runner at the time of the 1912 Olympics, was the victim. A winner of the 1910 Lisbon marathon, Lázaro was used to running in hot circumstances, like on the day of the Stockholm marathon. He thought he could improve his performance by not sweating, and greased up his body for the race.

This had an adverse effect, as his body could not cool down. Just after the half-way point, Lázaro fell for the first time, and stopped walking straight. After 30 kilometers, he eventually collapsed, and did not get up. A doctor was quickly at the scene, and the now unconscious marathon runner was quickly carried to the Seraphim hospital. He was taken in with a body temperature of 41 degrees Celsius. Intensive care all through the night could not revive him, and he died around 6 AM, causing a shock to the other athletes and the general public.

The following weekend, a memorial service was held in the Olympic Stadium, with 23,000 in attendance. Some $3800 was collected for Lázaro’s wife, and a monument was placed at the marathon’s turning point at Sollentuna. In Portugal, his funeral was attended by thousands.

Although always known as Francisco Lázaro, it turns out that he was baptized Francisco da Silva and “Chico do Lázaro” was only a nickname.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-52:08 (1912).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Athletics POR Francisco Lázaro
Marathon, Men (Olympic) DNF

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1912 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony POR Francisco Lázaro

Special Notes