Alberto Cova

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Alberto Cova
Alberto Cova.jpg
Personal information
Born (1958-12-01) December 1, 1958 (age 61)
Inverigo, Italy
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight58 kg (128 lb)
CountryItaly Italy
Event(s)Long distance running
ClubPro Patria Milano
Coached byGiorgio Rondelli
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • 5000 m: 13:10.06 (1985)
  • 10000 m: 27:37.59 (1983)

Alberto Cova (born December 1, 1958) is a retired Italian long-distance track athlete, winner of the 10,000 m at the 1984 Summer Olympics and 1983 World Championships.


Born in Inverigo, province of Como, Italy, Alberto Cova was characterized by his superiority in the sprint finish, and the only way to nullify this was to set a very fast pace from the start to finish. Cova got his first fame at the 1982 European Championships in Athens, where he surprisingly outsprinted the main favourite Werner Schildhauer from East Germany, to win his first international championship title. In the next year, Cova wasn't the main favourite at the first World Championships held in Helsinki, being considered only as a possible medal winner. The 10,000 m final at Helsinki was run in slow pace, with thirteen runners still in a leading pack at the bell. With only 30 metres to go, Cova was only in fifth place, but then sprinted forward to win. Schildhauer finished in second place. The top four runners sprinted to the finish line in 0.33 seconds (see Yleisurheilun MM-kisat Helsingissä / Athletics World Championships in Helsinki, edited by the Juoksija/Runner magazine, Helsinki: 1983).

The 10,000 m final at the Los Angeles Olympics began at an even slower pace than at Helsinki. At the 6 km mark, Martti Vainio from Finland, picked up the speed. Cova managed to follow him, and Vainio couldn't sustain his own pace, so Cova swept past him after the bell and sprinted to the line to win his last international title (see, for example, Tapio Pekola et al., eds., Suuri Suomalainen Olympiakirja/The Great Finnish Olympic Book, Helsinki: Juoksija-lehti (Runner magazine)/Laaseri, 1984).

At the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, Cova was beaten at his own game, when he was outsprinted by fellow countryman Stefano Mei on the last lap of the 10,000 m final. Cova never won a major race after that, and came tenth in his heat (thereby failing to qualify for the final) at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. This was his last international competition.

In the 1983 World Athletics Championships 10,000-metre final, there actually were seven men in the lead group at the bell (see the related video clip "Finns Near the Top" / Suomalaisia lähellä huippua in the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE's Living Archives / Elävä arkisto, with the following links: Sports / Urheilu, Athletics / Yleisurheilu, World Championships / MM-kisat, 1983 World Championships / MM-kisat 1983; the website is In the 1984 Olympics 10,000-metre final, Finland's Martti Vainio picked up the speed shortly before the 6 kilometre mark (see, for instance, The Great Olympic Book / Suuri Olympiateos, volume 4, published in Finland in 1984).


Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
1981 European Cup (Super League) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zagreb 6th 5000 m 13:45.48
1982 European Indoor Championships Italy Milan 2nd 3000 m 7:54.12
European Championships Greece Athens DSQ 5000 m No time [N 1]
1st 10,000 m 27:41.03
1983 World Championships Finland Helsinki 1st 10,000 m 28:01.04 [N 2]
European Cup (Super League) United Kingdom London 3rd 5000 m 13:55.59
2nd 10,000 m 28:02.13
1984 Olympic Games United States Los Angeles 1st 10,000 m 27:47.54
1985 European Cup (Super League) Soviet Union Moscow 1st 5000 m 14:05.45
1st 10,000 m 28:51.46
1986 European Championships Germany Stuttgart 8th 5000 m 13:35,86 [N 3]
2nd 10,000 m 27:57.93 [N 4][1]
1988 Olympic Games South Korea Seoul Heat 10,000 m 28:43.84

National titles[edit]

He won fourteen national championships at senior level.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ He ran in 13:27,65 in heats.
  2. ^ He ran a better crono, 27:46,61, in heats.
  3. ^ He ran a better crono, 13:31,18, in heats.
  4. ^ In that edition of the European Championships Italy conquered all three steps of the podium, with Stefano Mei 1st and Salvatore Antibo 2nd.


  1. ^ "EUROPEAN ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS - STUTTGART 1986". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  2. ^ "CAMPIONATI "ASSOLUTI" – UOMINI TUTTI I CAMPIONI – 1906-2016" (PDF). Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  3. ^ "ITALIAN INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS". Retrieved 27 September 2019.

External links[edit]