Martin Liqouri is a former Olympian (1968; 1,500m), a gold medalist at the 1971 Pan American Games, three time NCAA champion and a 1994 NYAC Hall of Fame inductee.
Liquori was born on September 11, 1949 in Montclair, NJ. He attended Essex Catholic High School in Newark, NJ, where he was first introduced to middle distance running. Seeing track as a path towards a potential college scholarship, Liquori quit his job at his family’s gas station and began training year round. In 1967, Liquori became the fourth American high schooler to run a sub-four minute mile – three years after Jim Ryun, who would develop a heated rivalry with Liquori, became the first to do so.
Liquori accepted a scholarship at Villanova University. As a wildcat, he won three straight NCAA championships in the mile between 1969 and 1971.
By his own admission, Liquori’s career defining moment came on May 16, 1971, in Philadelphia, in what is now known as the “Dream Mile.” Because of the budding rivalry between Ryun and Liqouri, the race was marketed as the “Ali vs. Frazier” of the mile. Liqouri jumped out to an early lead at the beginning of the race, and never gave it up. Wary of Ryun’s famous finishing kick, Liquori preferred to push the pace from the start. He held off Ryun’s furious finish to win the greatest race of his career. Later that year, Liqouri would win the gold medal in the 1,500m at the Pan American Games.
Liqouri and his family reside in Gainesville, Florida.