Christian Obrist was the biggest surprise of Italian athletics in the 2008 season. The 27-year-old athlete from Bressanone became only the fifth Italian 1500 metres middle distance runner in history to reach the Olympic final at this distance.
Before Obrist only four other Italian male athletes had managed to run the 1500 Olympic final. They were Arturo Porro (seventh in Antwerp 1920), middle-distance legend Luigi Beccali (gold medal in Los Angeles 1932 and bronze in Berlin 1936), Vittorio Fontanella (fifth in Moscow 1980) and Riccardo Materazzi (eleventh in Los Angeles 1984).
Before reaching Bejing, Obrist’s career had seen him competing in two continental 1500m championship finals, Munich 2002 and Gothenburg 2006, finishing seventh in both races. He had also run 2005 European Indoor final in Madrid, where he was ninth, while last year he made the World Championships semifinals in Osaka.