Vanderlei de Lima: Olympic, Controversy & Net Worth

Some succeed because they are destined to, while most grow because they are determined to. Vanderlei de Lima is the man who fits the perfect narrative of the saying.

Who is Vanderlei De Lima, you may ask? Vanderlei de Lima is a retired Brazilian long-distance runner who has participated in many marathons.

To mention a few of Vanderlei’s accomplishments, he won the Tokyo International Marathon in 1996 and Hamburg Marathon in 2004.

Vanderlei de Lima held the Olympic flame in 2016.

Vanderlei is most known for his incident in the 2004 Olympics, where he was attacked.

The attack led him to be dropped from first to the third position, but while most would be annoyed by it, Vanderlei took it like a champ.

He is truly an inspiration for the spirit of sportsmanship.

Because of this attitude, he has inspired the lives of many in his native Brazil.

In addition, he was honored to carry out the flame in the 2016 Olympics.

This article will find everything you need to know about Vanderlei de Lima.

Quick Facts

Here are some quick facts about the talented Vanderlei de Lima:

Full name Vanderlei de Lima
Date of birth July 4, 1969
Age [calculate_years datestring=”07/04/1969″] Years Old
Birthplace Cruzeiro do Oeste, PR of Brazil
Religion Christian
Nationality Brazilian
Ethnicity Latin
Education Not Available
Father’s name Jose Lima
Mother’s name Aurora Lima
Zodiac sign Cancer
Height 5 feet and 5 inches
Weight 52 kg
Spouse Not Available
Children Not Available
Body Measurement Not Available
Hair color Black
Eye color Black
Net Worth $4 million
Siblings 6 (Two brothers and Four sisters)
Sexual Orientation Straight
Marital Status Unmarried
Profession Long-distance runner
Current status Retired
Nickname Lima
Salary Not Available
Social Media Instagram, Facebook
Debut year 1989
Marathon’s Merch Running T-shirt, Travelling mug
Last Update [current-month] [current-year]

Vanderlei de Lima: Early Life

Vanderlei de Lima was born on July 4, 1969. He was born and raised in Cruzeiro do Oeste, PR of Brazil.

His father’s name is Jose Lima, while his mother is Aurora Lima. His father was a farmer, and his mother was a homemaker.

Jose Lima passed away almost a decade ago, but Aurora is still alive.

Vanderlei grew up in a big family with many siblings. He has two brothers and four sisters.

Growing up in a big family meant the entire family suffered to make ends meet. Jose was just a simple farmer and struggled to feed his family.

Vanderlei saw the sacrifice of his parents ever since he was a young boy, and he vowed that one day he would give a good life to his family.

So he started helping out his father at their farm young.

All the siblings were happy, no matter how bad the situation was. Aurora spent most of her days looking after the children.

There is no information on where Vanderlei went for his high school education. But he had mentioned he went to the local school.

While Vanderlei was in school, he started playing football and dreamt of being a football player.

Moreover, he played as the right defender for his school team.

At 14, Vanderlei became interested in athletics when his physical education teacher encouraged him.

He saw some potential in Lima and opted to participate in the interior race in Parana, where Lima came out victorious.

That is when Lima mero with Riccardo D’Angelo, one of Brazil’s most famous coaches.

Since then, Vanderlei had a different career path that led him to the Olympics.

Vanderlei de Lima: Physical Appearance

Regarding height, Lima is five feet and five inches tall. He weighs around 52 kgs.

Despite his age, Lima has maintained his healthy body. He used to have an athletic build back in the days.

Vanderlei at the 2004 Olympics.

His exact body measurement is unknown. However, he wears a size 38 shoe.

Lima has very little black hair and similar black eyes. He has a tanned skin complexion.

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Vanderlei de Lima: Personal Life

Vanderlei de Lima is a Brazilian citizen. In terms of religious beliefs, Lima is an avid Christian and is Latin in ethnicity.

Being born in July, Lima is Cancer in the zodiac charts. Cancer is a water sign, and they are known to be emotional.

Cancer people have traits such as being helpful, loving, kind, passionate, and egoistic. 

Moreover, Vanderlei is the perfect example of Cancer regarding their determined side since he puts all his effort into his career.


Vanderlei de Lima is not in any relationship as of now. Nor have there been any rumors of any relationship in the past.

Moreover, he never shares his personal life with the media. He likes to keep his dating life private.

He focused on his career day and night during his prime years.

Throughout his prime years, his only companion was his coach Ricardo D’Angelo who stood by him through the test of time.

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Vanderlei de Lima: Professional Career

Vanderlei started his career accidentally when he started training with Ricardo D’Angelo.

His professional first race was IAAF Cross Country Championship, where he represented his country, Brazil, in 1989 and 1992.

However, he won his first medal at the South American Cross Country Championship in 1993, landing the bronze medal. Then two years later, he won gold.

Vanderlei Lima represents his country Brazil.

Lima won his first Marathon at the Tokyo International Marathon in 1996.

Vanderlei is also two time champion of the Pan American Championship in the 1999 and 2003 games.

The following year was even better for Lima, who won the 2004 Hamburg Marathon.

But in 2004, the Olympics incident happened, which may have disturbed him.

Vanderlei de Lima was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Award after the 2004 Olympics for his excellent sportsmanship and fair play.

His biography Vanderlei de Lima- A life of Marathon was also published.

In 2005, he participated in the World Marathon Race but could not finish.

Similarly, in 2007 he took on the Pan American Championship but could not finish due to some muscular problem.

He retired in 2009 as a marathoner in the Paris Marathon in April 2009.

Vanderlei de Lima: Controversies

Vanderlei is rather famous because of the 2004 controversy at the Olympics.

On August 29, 2004, Vanderlei was the Brazilian representative at the Summer Olympics in Athens.

Lima was ahead of everyone in the race and was on the way to bringing gold to his country.

He was in the lead by 25 seconds at the thirty-five kilometers mark when he was stopped and grabbed by one of Cornelius Horan’s spectators.

Horan was wearing green socks and a green beret when he attacked Lima and pushed the runner off the course.

The disruption caused by Horan caused Lima to lose almost five seconds, during which Stefano Baldini of Italy and Meb Keflezighi of the USA overtook him.

One of the Greek Spectators had to pull Horan away from Vanderlei as he resumed the race.

But Lima had lost far too much precious time in the track where every second counts.

Nevertheless, Lima still landed the bronze medal with a time of 2:12:11.

After the incident, the Brazilian Athletics Federation appealed to the Olympics committee to give the gold to Lima. But the appeal was denied.

But Vanderlei showed true sportsmanship and was not bitter about the incident.

The culprit, Horan, had done a similar act before at the 2003 Formula One British Grand Prix Race by running on the Silverstone track.

Cornelius Horan was an Irish Priest who was defrocked because of his acts.

Moreover, the priest went on to say that he was not doing it as a prank but to share the news of the second coming so that he could warn the people.

Because of the incident, when Lima returned to his home country, he denied all sponsorship and never planned to go to Olympics.

Vanderlei de Lima: Net Worth

After being in the sports industry for more than two decades, Vanderlei has amassed great fortune along with his fame.

He mainly earned from his brand endorsement deals and sponsorship. In recent years, he has gained from his public appearance fees.

Vanderlei de lima has a net worth of 4 million us dollars as of 2021.

Since he has been long retired, we do not know his exact earnings annually.

But Lima believed in philanthropy and gave back to his community.

For example, he has helped many youths in his country by providing them scholarships for sports.

With his earnings, it is clear that Lima lives a very comfortable life.

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Vanderlei de Lima: Social Media

Vanderlei is very active on social media. He updates his fans about his daily activities while also posting about his glory days.

He uses Instagram, where he has more than 33K followers. 

Similarly, the retired Olympic marathon runner is also active on Facebook, with around 6.1K followers.

Vanderlei de Lima: FAQs

Who attacked Vanderlei de Lima?

Cornelius “Neil” Horan interfered and attacked Vanderlei during the 2004 Summer Olympics marathon.

Cornelius Horan pushed Vanderlei into the crowds and was arrested by the Greek police.

Neil Horan has caused controversies in the 2003 British Grand Prix, 2004 Epsom Derby, and World Cup 2006.

Additionally, Horan caused all these problems to promote his religious beliefs.

Who won the 2004 Olympics gold in the men’s Marathon?

De Lima was just about to become the first Brazilian to win gold at the Olympics before he got pushed by Neil.

As Vanderlei lost about 10 seconds, Stefano Baldini overtook him and won the 2004 Olympics men’s Marathon.

Additionally, de Lima won bronze and finished third.

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