Carlos Lopes

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Carlos Lopes

Carlos Lopes ( Carlos Alberto de Sousa Lopes ; born February 18, 1947 in Viseu ) is a former Portuguese long-distance runner . He became the first Olympic champion in his country in 1984 . In April 1985 he ran a world record in marathon running in Rotterdam with 2:07:12 hours .

Lopes' career began with little promise. At the European Championships in Helsinki in 1971 , he did not finish in the 10,000 meter run . In the 3000 meter obstacle course , he was eliminated in the preliminary run.

Even at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich , Lopes did not survive the 5000 and 10,000 meter prelims.

Lopes made his breakthrough in 1976. At the beginning of the year he won the World Cross Country Championships held in Chepstow . In a race in Munich on May 29, 1976, Lopes improved his personal best over 10,000 meters by 45 seconds to 27: 45.71 minutes. During this time Lopes traveled as a top favorite to the Olympic Games in Montreal .

In the Olympic final, which was held on July 26, 1976, he was at the head of the field throughout the race and dictated the pace. 450 meters from the finish, however, he was overtaken by defending champion Lasse Virén and had to be satisfied with the silver medal despite a personal best of 27: 45.17 minutes.

Eight years after winning the silver medal, Lopes had the greatest success of his career. In 1984 he became world champion in cross-country for the second time at the start of the season and ran a new best time over 10,000 meters on July 4th in Stockholm with 27: 17.48 minutes when he accompanied his compatriot Fernando Mamede in his world record run. Although he had previously only competed in three marathons and finished only one of them, he entered the marathon at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles as a 37-year-old .

In this race, Lopes increased the pace after 34.5 km and ran the next 5 kilometers in just 14:33 minutes. He held the lead to the finish and in the end won 35 seconds ahead of Irishman John Treacy . Lopes was the first Portuguese Olympic champion.

The following year he secured his third world title in cross-country running in front of a home crowd in Lisbon . On April 20, 1985 Lopes improved the world record of the British Steve Jones at the Rotterdam Marathon by 53 seconds to 2:07:12 hours. Lopes' best performance was beaten 3 years later in the same competition by Belayneh Dinsamo .

See also: On the subject of world best times or world records in marathon running, see Development of world best times and world records

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