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Carlos Lopes

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameCarlos Alberto•de Sousa Lopes
Used nameCarlos•Lopes
Born18 February 1947 in Vildemoinhos (POR)
Measurements167 cm / 55 kg
AffiliationsSporting, Lisboa (POR)
NOC Portugal


At age 29, Carlos Lopes, until then considered only an average international runner, made a big breakthrough. Lopes first won the 1976 International Cross-Country Championships, and then at the 1976 Montréal Olympics, Lopes set the pace from 4 km onwards and was only outsprinted by defending champion Lasse Virén, with Lopes taking silver.

After that superb season Lopes did not maintain that level over the next few seasons. He failed to qualify for the 1980 Olympics due to injuries and won no major races. In 1982 he turned to the marathon, but did not finish his first one. In his second marathon he improved, beaten only by Australian marathon star Rob de Castella. After finishing sixth in the 10K at the 1983 World Championships, Lopes decided to concentrate solely on the marathon. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic marathon was run in hot and humid conditions, and after the favorites gradually dropped off the pace, including de Castella and American Alberto Salazar, the 37-year-old Lopes led the field into the stadium to win the gold medal. In his last major race, the 1985 Rotterdam Marathon, Lopes took almost a minute off the world’s best marathon time, setting a new standard of 2-07:12.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 13:16.38 (1984); 10000 – 27:17.48 (1984); Mar – 2-07:12 (1985).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Summer Olympics Athletics POR Carlos Lopes
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 9 h1 r1/2
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 9 h3 r1/2
1976 Summer Olympics Athletics POR Carlos Lopes
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Marathon, Men (Olympic) DNS
1984 Summer Olympics Athletics POR Carlos Lopes
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold