Livio Berruti started out as a high jumper, but soon switched to sprinting. At age 18 he, was already on the national team, making his debut at the Six Nations Meet in 1957, placing second in the 100 and 200 m. Berruti divided his time between athletics and university: “I had an image of being a committed athlete and a conscientious student. But I worked harder on the books than on the track. They used to say that sprinters should keep themselves fresh, so I trained for three hours a week”. He went to the 1960 Roma Games having recently broken the European Record in the 100 m (10.2), but abstained from this race to concentrate on the 200 m. In the semi-finals, he beat the world record holders Ray Norton and Stone Johnson, equaling the record with 20.5, and two hours later entered the final as the favorite. He started well, reached Norton by running a perfect turn, entered the home stretch in the lead and held off his challengers, winning the gold with the same manual time as in the semi-final (20.62 electric time). Berruti, notable for running in dark glasses and white socks, also took part in the relay, in which the Italians came fourth. In 1961 he was unbeatable (26 victories in 26 races), but in subsequent Olympics he never managed to repeat his prior successes. In Tokyo he was fifth in 20.8, but was hampered by running the final in the first lane, and seventh in the 4×100 m, while in Mexico City he was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 200 m, and was again seventh in the relay. He retired in 1969 and went back to his studies, graduating in chemistry, and found work at the public relations department of Fiat. In addition to his Olympic gold, he gained 15 Italian titles (6 in the 100 m, 8 in the 200 m, one in the 4×100 m). In honor of his sporting achievements, Berruti was awarded a gold medal by the Italian Olympic Committee.
Personal Bests: 100 – 10.2 (1960); 200 – 20.62 (1960).