Luigi Beccali, an Italian champion in 1500 m from 1928 to 1931, became a national hero overnight when he won the Olympic 1500 m gold at Los Angeles. While mounted on the victory platform he was the first person to give the Fascist salute.
In 1933, Beccali ran three world records. At first he equalled Jules Ladoumègue's world record 3:49.2, then lowered it to 3:49.0. At the end of the year he also set the 1000 yd world record of 2:10.0.
Beccali won the 1500 m at the first European Championships in 1934, but was overrun by Jack Lovelock at the 1936 Summer Olympics, settling to the third place in 1500 m. He was again third in 1500 m at the European Championships in 1938. He also won the Italian championships from 1934 to 1938 in 1500 m and at 1935 in 5000 m.
|Olympic medalists in athletics (men) | Olympic Champions in Men's 1500 m|
Teddy Flack | Charles Bennett | Jim Lightbody (twice) | Mel Sheppard | Arnold Jackson | Albert Hill | Paavo Nurmi | Harry Larva | Luigi Beccali | Jack Lovelock | Henry Eriksson | Josy Barthel | Ron Delany | Herb Elliott | Peter Snell | Kip Keino | Pekka Vasala | John Walker | Sebastian Coe (twice) | Peter Rono | Fermín Cacho | Noureddine Morceli | Noah Ngeny | Hicham El Guerrouj