Born in Thiene on 30 July 1958, Orlando Pizzolato trained as an athlete in Ferrara under the orders of Giampaolo Lenzi, forming part of the local middle-distance running club. He was a virtual unknown – even to the Italian public – when he won the New York Marathon in both 1984 and 1985, earning himself the nickname Pizzowhat, which he still likes to use to this day. Pizzolato won gold at the 1985 Summer Universiade, following this up with a silver medal at the 1986 European Athletics Championships in Stockholm, where he finished behind Gelindo Bordin. He currently works as a marathon commentator for RAI. He is also an athletics coach, working with young prospects, as well as organising training camps for amateur runners. He is the editor of specialist running magazine Correre.