Abebe Bikila

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Abebe Bikila (August 7, 1932 - October 25, 1973) was a two time Olympic marathon champion from Ethiopia.

A member of Emperor Haile Selassie's Imperial Guard, Abebe Bikila, born in Mout, Ethiopia, became a national hero after winning the Olympic gold medal in the marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympics. At the Games held in Rome, Bikila ran the entire length of the marathon barefoot, setting a world record of 2 h 15 min 16.2 s. During the marathon, Bikila passed the Obelisk of Axum, which had been looted from Ethiopia after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.

At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo Bikila was in a weakened condition. He had his appendix removed six weeks before the race, which forced him to curtail his training for the marathon. Nevertheless, Bikila, this time wearing running shoes, repeated as Olympic marathon champion, again setting a world record (2 h 12 min 11.2 s).

At the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, Bikila was affected by the high altitude, injury, and age, and withdrew from the marathon race after 17 kilometers.

In 1969, Bikila was involved in a car accident near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He never regained his full health and died in Addis Ababa at the age of 41 from a disease he had suffered from for many months.

The national stadium in Addis Ababa is named in his honor.

Olympic medalists in athletics (men) | Olympic Champions in Men's Marathon
Spiridon Louis | Michel Thato | Thomas J. Hicks | William Sherring | Johnny Hayes | Kenneth McArthur | Hannes Kolehmainen | Albin Stenroos | Boughera El Ouafi | Juan Carlos Zabala | Sohn Kee-chung | Delfo Cabrera | Emil Ztopek | Alain Mimoun | Abebe Bikila (twice) | Mamo Wolde | Frank Shorter | Waldemar Cierpinski (twice) | Carlos Lopes | Gelindo Bordin | Hwang Young-Cho | Josia Thugwane | Gezahegne Abera | Stefano Baldini
de:Abebe Bikila

eo:Abebe BIKILA et:Abebe Bikila fr:Abebe Bikila it:Abebe Bikila ja:アベベ・ビキラ nl:Abebe Bikila pt:Abebe Bikila

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