B. 1932-08-07, Mout, Ethiopia; D. 1973-10-25
Track and Field (2 gold)
In Roma, he astonished the world by winning the Marathon on bare feet, becoming
the first black african gold medallist. In Tokyo, no longer bare-footed,
he became the first man to win a second Olympic Marathon. This performance
came only 35 days after having his appendix removed. (the feat would be copied
by Waldemar Cierpinsky)
He competed also at Mexico, but dropped out of the race after 17 km.
In Roma, he made his final push near the oblisk of Axum, an artifact the Italians had plundered from Ethiopia.
In Tokyo, they played the Japanese national anthem is his honour, because the band did not know the Ethiopian one.
A member of Emperor Haile Selassie's bodyguard, he became partially paralised in a motoring accident in 1969 and subsequently took part as an archer in the Paraplegic Games.
He was born on the exact day of the Los Angeles Olympic Marathon.
|Men's Middleweight (-75 kg)||gold||9600|
written 2002-10-27 - last modified 2022-03-05
This page is part of the site "Full Olympians" by Herman De Wael. See here for a full Introduction.