Skip to main content

Farewell to 'The Legend' of American cycling

John Sinibaldi in 2004

John Sinibaldi in 2004 (Image credit: Bob Croslin)

US racer John Sinibaldi, an Olympian at the 1932 and 1936 Games, died last week. Les Woodland looks back at the career of a rider who kept racing all the way through his long life and was known to all as 'The Legend'.

The American comedian George Burns used to have a good line. When TV hosts said it was good of him to be on their show, he'd raise an eyebrow and say: "At my age, it's good to be anywhere."

John Sinibaldi probably smiled at that as well. In one of his last interviews, he said quietly: "I'd like to live to be 100… but I'm not promising anything."

Well, George Burns made it. John Sinibaldi died on January 10. He was 92.

And so? John Sinibaldi was one of cycling's last remaining connections with the notorious Hitler Olympics of 1936, having already ridden the Los Angeles Games of 1932. Nothing much came of either - he came down with food poisoning at the first and crashed in the second. But for many people, that'd have been enough. A shrug, a smile, a good tale told over a pint of beer. "Did I ever tell you about the day I saw Hitler in Berlin? I did? Well, let me tell you again anyway…"

No, Sinibaldi's career was somewhat on the right side of different. This was a man who set an American 100km record that lasted 50 years. It was 2:25:09. At 80, he had five national championship jerseys for riders of his age. When he died on January 10, he was the oldest man in America to have a racing licence. Probably the oldest man in the world. At 91, he travelled to Utah from Florida to try for his 18th national time-trial championship.

Click here for the full story.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1