Johnny Hayes Inherits Marathon Gold (1908) Hayes is best remembered for his controversial victory in the marathon at the 1908 Games in London. Entering the final stretch of the 26-mile, 385-yard contest -- the first time the marathon was ever run at its now official distance -- Hayes trailed Italian Dorando Pietri. But the race had taken its toll on Pietri, who was staggering in the final few yards. Pietri fell five times in the final 600 yards, and each time was helped to his feet by officials. Though Pietri crossed the finish line first and Hayes second, officials later stripped Pietri of the title by virtue of the assistance he received and named Hayes the winner. Hayes is still one of only three male American athletes to win the Olympic marathon.