1917年1月26日出生于纽约Olean，Louis Zamperini在加利福尼亚州托兰斯长大。他的父母安东尼和路易斯都是不会说英语的意大利移民。路易斯的意大利传统使他成为学校欺凌者的牺牲品，多年来他一直表现出轻微的违法犯罪行为。路易斯的哥哥皮特说服他在高中时出去跑道，路易斯发现了长跑的天赋。他创造了4分钟的全国高中纪录，一英里21.2秒，这将持续20年不间断。 1934年赢得加利福尼亚州州立大学冠军，使路易斯获得了南加州大学的奖学金。 Zamperini有资格参加1936年柏林奥运会，杰西欧文斯赢得四枚金牌。 Zamperini表现不错，但在5000米比赛中排名第八。回到南加州大学，Zamperini在1938年创造了这一里程的大学纪录，4分8.3秒，这个纪录已经持续了15年。他于1940年毕业，并将再次参加奥运会，但第二次世界大战的爆发导致比赛被取消。
Born in Olean, New York on January 26, 1917, Louis Zamperini grew up in Torrance, California. His parents Anthony and Louis are Italian immigrants who do not speak English. Louis’s Italian tradition made him a victim of school bullies, and he has been showing minor crimes for many years. Louis’s brother, Pete, persuaded him to go out on the runway in high school, and Louis found the talent for long-distance running. He created a four-minute national high school record, 21.2 seconds a mile, which will last for 20 years without interruption. In 1934, he won the California State University Championship, and Louis received a scholarship from the University of Southern California. Zamperini is eligible to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and Jesse Owens wins four gold medals. Zamperini performed well, but ranked eighth in the 5,000-meter race. Back at the University of Southern California, Zamperini created the university record for this miles in 1938, 4 minutes and 8.3 seconds. This record has been going on for 15 years. He graduated in 1940 and will participate in the Olympics again, but the outbreak of the Second World War led to the cancellation of the game.