Biography of Pietro Mennea

Born in Barletta (Bari) on 28 June 1952, he died in Rome on 21 March 2013; he was 1.79 tall by 68 kg. Coach: Carlo Vittori. National team attendance: 51. In 1979 world record holder of the 200 with 19.72. Olympic Champion (1980) in the 200, European Champion (1978) in the 100 and (1974 and 1978) in the 200.

Graduated in accounting and physical education, graduated in political science. Followed at the beginning by Prof. Mascolo, he quickly went from the middle distance to the speed. Previously he had played a little football. In his first year as a junior he went to the national team, and in his second year he won the Italian title out of 200. Prof. Vittori took him under his care since the 1971 season, when Pietro won the 200 at the Mediterranean Games and the Absolute. In 1972 he took the podium at the Olympics, in 1973 he won at the Universiade, in 1974 at the European Championships, and in 1975 again at the Mediterranean Games and the Universiade. His best four-year period was from 1977 to 1980, when he became the best duecentist on the planet, with a world record of 19.72 at the Universiade of Mexico City in 1979 (wind, 1.8 meters) and with an Olympic victory in 1980 in Moscow where he prevailed in a furious final over the Scottish Allan Wells (20.19 against 20.21). He then retired for almost two years, returning to the races at the end of 1982, and was still the protagonist, since the winter of 1983 (indoor world record of 200). He retired at the end of 1984, returned again to race at the end of 1987 and participated in his fifth Olympics in Seoul. He has advanced the national records a lot: on 100 up to a manual 10.0 (Milan, 1972) and 10.01 (Mexico, 1979), European record. He was also capable of 45.87 (1977) in the 400. His most impressive “stripes” can be identified as he achieved at the European Championships of 1978 in Prague: between preliminary and final, 10 races in six days, with an extraordinary 44.4 in the last effort, a fraction of the 4×400, and as he got after the Olympic Games in Moscow (1980): 8 races of 200 in about fifty days, in Europe and the Far East, always winning, with an average of 20.07. He then had a brilliant career in politics and professional, coming to the European Parliament.

Curriculum
Italian titles: 1974, 1978, 1980 100 – 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984 200 – 1974 4 x 100 – 1974 4 x 200
Olympic Games: 3/1972 200, 4/1976 200, elimin. qf/1980 100, 1/1980 200, 3/1980 4 x 400, 7/1984 200, 4/1984 4 x 100, 5/1984 4 x 400, elimin. qf/1988 200 World Championships: 3/1983 200, 2/1983 4 x 100
European Championships: 6/1971 200, 3/1971 4 x 100, 2/1974 100, 1/1974 200, 2/1974 4 x 100, 1/1978 100, 1/1978 200, 5/1978 4 x 100, 7/1978 4 x 400, 6/1982 4 x 400
Indoor European Championships: 1/1978 400
European Junior Championships: 5/1970 200, 6/1970 4 x 100
World Cup: 4/100 1977, 2/1977 200
European Cup: 2/1975 100, 1/1975 200, 3/1975 4 x 100, 2/1977 100, disqualification /1977 4 x 100, 1/1979 100, 2/1979 200, 4/1979 4 x 100, 2/1983 200, 1/1983 4 x 100

Performances 100 meters
10.01 (1) Mexico City 4-9-79
10.15 (1) Turin 4-8-79
10.15 (1)b2 Split 23-9-79
10.18 (1) Bologna 19-9-79
10.19 (1)b2 Prague 29-8-78
10.19 (1) Turin 24-6-80
10.20 (1) Turin 12-7-75
10.22 (1) Lignano Sabbiadoro 18-8-79
10.23 (4) Zurich 20-8-75
10.23 (4) Milan 1-7-78
manual times
10.0 (2) Milan 16-6-6-72
10.0 (1) Palermo 10-9-75
10.0 (1) Lisbon 3-6-79

Performances 200 meters
19.72 (1) Mexico City 12-9-79
19.96 (1)b9 Mexico City 10-9-79
19.96 (1) Barletta 17-8-80
20.01 (1) Rome 5-8-80
20.03 (1) Tokyo 20-9-80
20.03 (1) Beijing 27-9-80
20.04 (1)sf Mexico City 11-9-79
20.05 (1) Brussels 22-8-80
20.07 (1) Oakwood 13-8-80
20.07 (1) Toast 3-10-84
20.09 (1) Toast 14-10-84
manual times
19.8 (1) Mexico City 3-9-79

b = battery; sf = semifinal

Primates

Curriculum
Italian titles: 1974, 1978, 1980 100 – 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984 200 – 1974 4 x 100 – 1974 4 x 200
Olympic Games: 3/1972 200, 4/1976 200, elimin. qf/1980 100, 1/1980 200, 3/1980 4 x 400, 7/1984 200, 4/1984 4 x 100, 5/1984 4 x 400, elimin. qf/1988 200 World Championships: 3/1983 200, 2/1983 4 x 100
European Championships: 6/1971 200, 3/1971 4 x 100, 2/1974 100, 1/1974 200, 2/1974 4 x 100, 1/1978 100, 1/1978 200, 5/1978 4 x 100, 7/1978 4 x 400, 6/1982 4 x 400
Indoor European Championships: 1/1978 400
European Junior Championships: 5/1970 200, 6/1970 4 x 100
World Cup: 4/100 1977, 2/1977 200
European Cup: 2/1975 100, 1/1975 200, 3/1975 4 x 100, 2/1977 100, disqualification /1977 4 x 100, 1/1979 100, 2/1979 200, 4/1979 4 x 100, 2/1983 200, 1/1983 4 x 100

Performances 100 meters
10.01 (1) Mexico City 4-9-79
10.15 (1) Turin 4-8-79
10.15 (1)b2 Split 23-9-79
10.18 (1) Bologna 19-9-79
10.19 (1)b2 Prague 29-8-78
10.19 (1) Turin 24-6-80
10.20 (1) Turin 12-7-75
10.22 (1) Lignano Sabbiadoro 18-8-79
10.23 (4) Zurich 20-8-75
10.23 (4) Milan 1-7-78
manual times
10.0 (2) Milan 16-6-6-72
10.0 (1) Palermo 10-9-75
10.0 (1) Lisbon 3-6-79

Performances 200 meters
19.72 (1) Mexico City 12-9-79
19.96 (1)b9 Mexico City 10-9-79
19.96 (1) Barletta 17-8-80
20.01 (1) Rome 5-8-80
20.03 (1) Tokyo 20-9-80
20.03 (1) Beijing 27-9-80
20.04 (1)sf Mexico City 11-9-79
20.05 (1) Brussels 22-8-80
20.07 (1) Oakwood 13-8-80
20.07 (1) Toast 3-10-84
20.09 (1) Toast 14-10-84
manual times
19.8 (1) Mexico City 3-9-79

b = battery; sf = semifinal

Primates

Race TYPE PERFORMANCE WIND YEAR CITY
100 meter Runway 10.0 1972 Milan
150 meter Runway 14.8 1983 Cassino
200 meter Runway 19.96 1980 Barletta
300 floors Runway 32.2 1975 Formia