Dorando Pietri

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Competed in Intercalated Games
Full nameDorando•Pietri
Used nameDorando•Pietri
Born16 October 1885 in Correggio, Reggio Emilia (ITA)
Died7 February 1942 in Sanremo, Imperia (ITA)
AffiliationsLa Patria Carpi
NOC Italy


Dorando Pietri is the most famous loser in Olympic history. Entering the stadium at the end of the 1908 Olympic marathon he held a comfortable lead over Johnny Hayes (USA), but then collapsed five times and had to be helped across the finishing line. This assistance from well-meaning officials resulted in his disqualification but, in defeat, Pietri’s fame far exceeded that of the winner. Queen Alexandra presented him with a large gold cup which was an exact replica of the one awarded to the Olympic champion, and Irving Berlin wrote the popular song “Dorando” in his honor. Pietri turned professional shortly after the 1908 Olympics and enjoyed a successful career in America and Europe.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-38:49 (1910).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1906 Intercalated Games Athletics ITA Dorando Pietri
Marathon, Men (Intercalated) DNF
1908 Summer Olympics Athletics ITA Dorando Pietri
5 miles, Men (Olympic) DNS
Marathon, Men (Olympic) DQ
3 miles, Team, Men (Olympic) Italy AC

Special Notes