Page 40 - Summer2016Gazette
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        Dorando Pietri

        A modern Roman Olympic hero

          Good heavens, he has fainted:
          is it possible that even at this
          last moment the prize may
          slip through his fingers? ….
          Then a great sigh of relief
          goes up....Thank God, he is
          on his feet again....There is
          a groan as he falls once more
          and a cheer as he staggers
          again to his feet....Again,
          for a hundred yards, he ran
          in the same furious and yet   Pietri being helped over the finishing line at the 1908 Olympic Marathon.
          uncertain gait. Then again he   Pagliani. A few days later   disqualified after being
          collapsed, kind hands saving   Pietri débuted in a distance   helped over the finishing
          him from a heavy fall.  race, finishing second in the   line at the end of the 1908
                                3,000 meters of Bologna. The   Olympic Marathon in
                                following year he achieved   London. The event was held
        Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the   his first international success,   on a hot summer day in the
        creator of Sherlock Holmes,   winning the 30 km in Paris   afternoon with temperatures
        writing for the Daily Mail   and attaining the credentials   reaching 91˚ Fahrenheit,
        had expressed it thus about   needed to become a genuine   enough to produce a
        the dramatic events of 24 July   Olympic competitor.  high level of fatigue and
        1908 when an Italian distance   On 2 April 1906 Pietri won   dehydration later on.
        runner had entered the White   the qualifying marathon   Pietri began his race at a
        City Stadium aiming to win   for the unofficial Olympic   rather slow pace, but in the
        the Olympic Marathon. His   Games to be held in Athens   second half of the course
        name was Dorando Pietri.  that same year. In the   accelerated to move into
        Gaining a reputation    Olympic race he retired due   second position after 20
                                to intestinal illness when he
        He had for four years been   was leading by 5 minutes.   miles, 4 minutes behind
        gaining a reputation as a   In 1907 he won the Italian   South African Charles
        highly promising distance   championships, and was by   Hefferon. When he sensed
        runner. In September 1904,   then the undisputed leader   that Hefferon was struggling,
        whilst working as a shop   of Italian long distance   Pietri further increased his
        assistant, Pietri was attracted   races from 5000 meters to   pace, overtaking him at the
        to an event in Carpi in which   marathon distance.  24 mile mark.
        the most famous Italian                         The effort took its toll and
        runner of the time, Pericle   Going in the wrong direction  with only two kilometers to
        Pagliani, was due to compete.   He went on to compete on   go, Pietri began to feel the
        Still wearing his work clothes,   the official games in London   effects of extreme fatigue and
        he ran to finish ahead of   in 1908 and be famously   dehydration. When he entered
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