Carles Lopes was one of the finest athletes of his generation. In 1976, he took the lead at just past 2,000 meters in the 10,000m Olympic fnal, and lead Lasse Viren in a break away, taking silver in the Montreal 10,000m. He did not make Moscow 1980, as he suffered from injuries.
His speciality was cross country, having taken 3 golds in the World Cross: 1978, 1984 and 1985. In 1977 and 1983, he took silver medals. This endurance helped him over 10,000m and the marathon.
In 1984, prior to the LA Olympics, Lopes helped team mate Fernando Mamede take the WR in 27:13.81 with Lopes taking second in 27:17.48. The WR had been Henry Rono’s magnifiscent 10,000m WR of 27:22.5, set in 1978.
Eight years later, at the ripe old age of 37, he became the oldest man to win an Olympic marathon, when he took the LA 1984 marathon in a huge upset. His 1984 Olympic win was his second marathon. In his first marathon, which he lost to Rob De Castella, he had consumed a nice bottle of red wine and an immense steak the night before-no carbo loading for Mr. Lopes. Lopes was second in Rotterrdam, by two seconds, in 2:08.39. Rotterdamr was his second attempt, as he had nearly finished the 1983 NYC Marathon, only to run into a spectator and not finish that race.
In 1985, in Rotterdam, Carles Lopes broke the WR by 53 seconds, with his 2:07:12, becoming the first man to break 2:08.
LISBON (POR): Reflecting on the 35th anniversary of his 2:07:12 world best in the Rotterdam Marathon, Portugal’s Carlos Lopes said: “The day I ran the Rotterdam Marathon, in which I beat the world marathon record (best), was an unforgettable moment in my athletic career. The day before the marathon, I felt ready to run very fast the next day. That night I was able to sleep quite well. The day of the race the weather was good although slightly windy, but that was just an added motivation to try to beat the record, as I had dreamt of doing since the beginning of my career. As soon as the race got underway, Lopes said his focus became clear. I forgot about everything else and focused on trying to make the best time from the first to the last metre. As I progressed in the race, my mind was thinking only of beating the record. I was 100% focused on the finish line. In the last two kilometres I was already sure I would beat the record.” Lopes, who won the Olympic title in 1984, was 38 when he set the world best. From World Athletics.