At the first Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, Italian shooter Giuseppe RIVABELLA competed in the military rifle.
The first Italian gold medallist was Count Giangiorgio TRISSINO, who won the high jump section in the equestrian events at the Paris 1900 Games.
Italy missed the St Louis 1904 Games but the gallant struggle of marathon runner Dorando PIETRI at the London 1908 Olympic Games is still remembered. He led into the stadium but as he fell on the final lap he was helped by officials. Disqualification followed but he received a consolation cup from Queen Alexandra. A road near the site of the 1908 stadium bears his name to this day.
Eighty years later, Gelindo BORDIN won marathon gold at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and Stefano Baldini won the Olympic marathon in Athens in 2004.
Italians have prospered in other long-distance events. Walker Ugo FRIGERIO grabbed a golden double at the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games, winning the 3km and 10km races and adding a further gold over 10km in Paris in 1924.
Ivano BRUGNETTI won the men's 20km in Athens in 2004. Sprinter Livio BERUTTI won the men's 200m at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games and Pietro MENNEA emulated that feat in Moscow in 1980.
High Jumper Sara SIMEONI also won Olympic gold in Moscow to add to her silver medals in 1976 and 1984. She also carried the Italian flag in 1984.
Italy has a fine Olympic tradition in fencing. Edoardo MANGIAROTTI won his first gold medal as part of the epee team at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. He competed at five successive Olympic Games, collecting six gold medals, five silver and two bronze, a record haul for a fencer.
His brother Dario fought alongside him at the London 1948 Games. At those same London Games, riders Piero and Raimondo D'INZEO made their Olympic debut. The brothers competed in every Olympic Games until 1976. Raimondo won showjumping gold in 1960 and also added two silver and three bronze medals. Piero claimed two silver and four bronze. They were the first to compete in eight Olympic Games.
Brothers also contributed to Italian rowing success. Giuseppe and Carmino ABBAGNALE won gold in the coxed pairs at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games . They also took silver in Barcelona in 1992.
Younger brother Agostino surpassed their success with quadruple sculls gold in 1988 and 2000. In between, he won gold in double sculls in Atlanta in 1996. Valentina VEZZALI is the first fencer in Olympic history to win individual foil gold medals at three consecutive Olympics, starting in Sydney in 2000.
London 2012 will be her fourth Olympic Games. Rome staged the 1960 Olympic Games and Italy has twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games: in Cortina d'Ampezzo (1956) and Turin (2006).
Inno di Mameli
Anthem: Year of Induction
Music Michele NOVARO, words Goffredo MAMELI.
IOC recognition date
NOC President's name
Mr Gianni PETRUCCI
NOC General Secretary's name
Mr Raffaele PAGNOZZI
IOC Member's Name
Mr Franco CARRARO, Mr Mario PESCANTE, Mr Ottavio CINQUANTA, Mr Francesco RICCI BITTI, Mrs Manuela DI CENTA (Honorary)
Year of first appearance in an Olympic Games
Number of appearances in Olympic Games
26, including London 2012
Summary of Olympic Games Appearances
|Medals per sport|
|Canoe - Sprint||4||6||3||13|
|Canoe - Slalom||1||0||1||2|
|Cycling - Road||9||7||2||18|
|Cycling - Track||22||9||6||37|
|Equestrian - Eventing||3||3||2||8|
|Equestrian - Jumping||4||6||5||15|
|Gymnastics - Artistic||14||5||8||27|
|Gymnastics - Rhythmic||0||1||0||1|
|Wrestling - Freestyle||1||0||0||1|
|Wrestling - Greco-Roman||6||4||9||19|
|Medals per year|