Sante Gaiardoni

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameSante Giovanni•Gaiardoni
Used nameSante•Gaiardoni
Born29 June 1939 in Villafranca di Verona, Verona (ITA)
Measurements168 cm / 66 kg
AffiliationsU.S. Azzini, Milano (ITA)
NOC Italy


Sante Gaiardoni drew attention to himself at a 21-year-old at the 1960 Roma Olympics. He won two track cycling gold medals, in the sprint and 1,000 metres time trial. That same year he was the World Sprint Champion in Leipzig, after silver medals in 1958 and 1959, on both occasions, behind teammate Valentino Gasparella. Gaiardoni won three Italian tandem titles 1958-60, twice with Giacomo Zanetti and once with Sergio Bianchetto. Gaiardoni’s only success on the road as an amateur was in winning the 1959 Milano-Busseto race.

Gaiardoni turned professional in 1961 and won many track races in Italy and across Europe, despite the presence of one of the biggest track stars of the day, Antonio Maspes. Gaiardoni won only one world title, at Rocourt, Belgium, in 1963, when he took the sprint title ahead of Maspes, who the previous year had beaten Gaiardoni into second place. Gaiardoni won two other world silvers (1965, 1970) and two bronze medals (1966, 1969). In Italy, Gaiardoni ended Maspes run of five consecutive national sprint titles by taking gold in 1964.

Gaiardoni married singer Elsa Quarta, and he tried without success to become mayor of Milano in 2006. With journalist Francesco Lodi in 2010, he wrote a book Quando la rabbia si trasforma in vittoria, telling the story of Gaiardoni’s life from his childhood up to the Roma Olympics.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Summer Olympics Cycling Track (Cycling) ITA Sante Gaiardoni
Sprint, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1,000 metres Time Trial, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes