The Story of Dorando Pietri in the Marathon in the 1908 Olympic Games – The British Newspaper Archive Blog


The Story of Dorando Pietri in the Marathon in the 1908 Olympic Games

With the London Marathon taking place last Sunday, we thought we’d post this story about the famous marathon that took place during the 1908 Olympics.

In perhaps one of the most dramatic endings to a marathon ever, Dorando Pietri, the first man to cross the finishing line, was disqualified, after he had been helped to his feet several times by well-wishing spectators. The judges decided to award the race to Johnny Hayes, who had finished behind the dangerously exhausted, Pietri. However, it’s interesting to note that what people remember about the event is the name and sad story of Dorando Pietri – which just goes to prove that the race is not always to the swiftest.

With the tragic death of Claire Squires near the finish line of Sunday’s marathon, the reference in the newspaper report to Pheidippides is especially poignant. ‘Quem di diligunt, adolescens moritur.’

old newspaper report on the marathon in the 1908 olympic games and dorano pietri

Source: Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 25 July 1908

Image © Northcliffe Media Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.



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