Luigi Facelli

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Luigi Facelli
Luigi Facelli.jpg
Personal information
Nationality Italian
Born (1898-05-10)10 May 1898
Acqui Terme, Italy
Died 4 May 1991(1991-05-04) (aged 92)
Milan, Italy
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 70 kg (154 lb)
Country Italy Italy
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Hurdles
Club SG Gallaratese
GSOM Milanolano
SS Ambrosiana
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)
  • 110 m hs: 15.0 (1930)
  • 400 m hs: 52.4 (1929)
  • 400 m: 48.1 (1931)

Luigi Facelli (10 May 1898 - 4 May 1991) was an Italian hurdler. He was born in Acqui Terme, in Piedmont, and died in Milan at the age of 92.

He was one of Italy's greatest hurdlers.[1] He was particularly known for rivalry with the British champion David Burghley in the 1920s and 1930s.[2]


Olympic appearances[edit]

Luigi Facelli participated at four Summer Olympics (1924, 1928, 1932, 1936). He finished 8th at the 1924 Summer Olympics in the 4x400 metres relay, 6th at the 1928 Summer Olympics in the 400 metres hurdles and 5th and 6th at the 1932 Summer Olympics respectively in the 400 metres hurdles and in the 4x400 metres relay. He had 30 caps in national team from 1924 to 1936.[3]

Facelli-Burghley rivalry[edit]

Lord Burghley (left) shakes hands with his Italian rival Facelli

During his rivalry with David Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter (Lord David Burghley), won 6 of the 11 contests.[4] Because of the noble origins of Burghley their epic was renamed "The Prince and the Pauper." As part of the British Athletics Championships (which were considered a kind of European Athletics Championships at the time) he won three of the five contests against Burghley.[5]

Despite their different walks of life, Lord Burghley considered Facelli a friend for years. Burghley invited him to the opening ceremony for the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. When Facelli received the letter he passed it to a friend to translate. However, the friend was unable to translate the whole later and the invitation was missed.[4] Burghley also explained in the letter that Facelli would find a plane ticket to London at the British Consulate in Milan and also arranged accommodation for him London - but all this was "lost in translation".[4]

European record[edit]

Facelli set a European record in the 400 metres hurdles with the time of 52.4, set in Bologna, Italy on 6 October 1929. He was holder of the record till 9 July 1939.[6]

Post athletics career[edit]

In honour of his sporting successes, the Italian government assigned to him an annual sum following a decision by the Council of Ministers (Legge Bacchelli).[7] In 1988, on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, the Italian designer Ottavio Missoni gave a party in his honor. Facelli resided in Corsico, and died in a clinic in Milan in 1991 at the age of 93 years.[8]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Performance Note
1924 Olympic Games France Paris 8th 4 × 400 m relay 3:28.0 [9]
1928 Olympic Games Netherlands Amsterdam 6th 400 metres hurdles 55.8 [10]
Heat 4 × 400 m relay 3.17.8
1932 Olympic Games United States Los Angeles 5th 400 metres hurdles 53.0
6th 4 × 400 m relay 3:17.8
1934 European Championships Italy Turin 6th 400 metres hurdles DNF [11]

National championships[edit]

Luigi Facelli won 17 competitions in the Italian national championship for athletics.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Testimonianze: Luigi Facelli, Giovanni Frangipane, Ugo Frigerio, Ottavio Missoni" (PDF) (in Italian). Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "LA84 Foundation - Los Angeles 1932" (PDF). Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Annuario dell'Atletica 2009. FIDAL. 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Luigi Facelli (1898-1991)" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "British Athletics Championships". Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "European Record Progression, men 400m hurdles". Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Luigi Facelli - Associazione Medaglie d'oro al Valor Atletico" (in Italian). Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "ADDIO, ARTISTA DEL PASSO" (in Italian). Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  9. ^ The national relay team run in 3:22.6 in round one.
  10. ^ He ran in 54.2 in semifinal.
  11. ^ "I European Championship, Turin 1934". Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  12. ^ ""CAMPIONATI "ASSOLUTI" ITALIANI SUL PODIO TRICOLORE – 1906 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 

External links[edit]