Abebe Bikila (Amharic: አበበ ቢቂላ; August 7, 1932 – October 25, 1973) was an Ethiopian marathon runner. A double Olympic marathon champion, he won the first at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome while running barefoot, setting a world record. He is Africa's first world record breaking athlete in any sport and the first sub-Saharan African Olympic gold medallist. At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Abebe became the first athlete to successfully defend an Olympic marathon title, breaking his own world record in the process. He was a member of the Ethiopian Imperial Guard, an elite infantry division that safeguarded the Emperor of Ethiopia. Enlisting as a soldier before his athletic career, he rose to the rank of shambel (captain). In Ethiopia, Abebe is formally known as Shambel Abebe Bikila (Amharic: ሻምበል አበበ ቢቂላ).
He was a pioneer in long-distance running. Mamo Wolde, Juma Ikangaa, Tegla Loroupe, Paul Tergat, and Haile Gebrselassie—all recipients of the New York Road Runners' Abebe Bikila Award—are a few of the athletes who have followed in his footsteps to establish East Africa as a force in long-distance running. Abebe participated in a total of sixteen marathons, winning twelve and finishing fifth in the 1963 Boston Marathon. In July 1967, he sustained the first of several sports-related leg injuries which prevented him from finishing his last two marathons.
On March 22, 1969, Abebe was paralysed as a result of a car accident. Although he regained some upper-body mobility, he never walked again. Abebe competed in archery and table tennis at the 1970 Stoke Mandeville Games in London, an early predecessor of the Paralympic Games, while receiving medical treatment in England. He competed in both sports at a 1971 competition for the disabled in Norway, and won its cross-country sleigh-riding event.
Abebe died at age 41 on October 25, 1973, of a cerebral hemorrhage related to his accident four years earlier. He received a state funeral, and Emperor Haile Selassie declared a national day of mourning. Many schools, venues and events, including Abebe Bikila Stadium in Addis Ababa, are named after him. The subject of biographies and films documenting his athletic career, Abebe is often featured in publications about the marathon and the Olympics.
|Native name||ሻምበል አበበ ቢቂላ|
|Full name||Abebe Bikila Demissie|
|Born||August 7, 1932|
Jato, Ethiopian Empire
|Died||October 25, 1973 (aged 41)|
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
|Resting place||Saint Joseph Church|
|Height||177 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||57 kg (126 lb)|
|Event(s)||Marathon, 10,000 m|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||Marathon – 2:12:11 (Tokyo 1964)|
10,000 m – 29:00.8 (Berlin 1962)
Abebe was born on August 7, 1932, in the small community of Jato, then part of the Debre Berhan district of Shewa. His birthday coincided with the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon. Abebe was the son of Wudinesh Beneberu and her second husband, Bikila Demissie. During the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, his family was forced to move to the remote town of Gorro. By then, Wudinesh had divorced Abebe's father and married Temtime Kefelew. The family eventually moved back to Jato (or nearby Jirru), where they had a farm.
As a young boy Abebe played gena, a traditional long-distance hockey game played with goalposts sometimes miles apart. Around 1952, he joined the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Imperial Guard after moving to Addis Ababa the year before. During the mid-1950s, Abebe ran 20 km (12 mi) from the hills of Sululta to Addis Ababa and back every day. Onni Niskanen, a Swedish coach employed by the Ethiopian government to train the Imperial Guard, soon noticed him and began training him for the marathon. In 1956, Abebe finished second to Wami Biratu in the Ethiopian Armed Forces championship. According to biographer Tim Judah, his entry in the Olympics was a "long planned operation" and not a last-minute decision, as was commonly thought.
Abebe married 15-year-old Yewebdar Wolde-Giorgis on March 16, 1960.[note 1] Although the marriage was arranged by his mother, Abebe was happy and they remained married for the rest of his life.
In July 1960, Abebe won his first marathon in Addis Ababa. A month later he won again in Addis Ababa with a time of 2:21:23, which was faster than the existing Olympic record held by Emil Zátopek. Niskanen entered Abebe Bikila and Abebe Wakgira in the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics, which would be run on September 10. In Rome, Abebe Bikila purchased new running shoes, but they did not fit well and gave him blisters. He consequently decided to run barefoot instead.
The late-afternoon race started at the foot of the Capitoline Hill staircase and finished at the Arch of Constantine, just outside the Colosseum. The course twice passed Piazza di Porta Capena, where the Obelisk of Axum was then located. When the runners passed the Obelisk the first time Abebe was at the rear of the lead pack, which included Great Britain's Arthur Keily, Moroccan Rhadi Ben Abdesselam, Ireland's Bertie Messitt, and Belgian Aurèle Vandendriessche.
Between 5 km (3 mi) and 20 km (12 mi), the lead changed hands several times. By about 25 km (16 mi), however, Abebe and ben Abdesselam moved away from the rest of the pack. Trailing by about two minutes at the 30 km (19 mi) mark were New Zealand's Barry Magee, who was to finish third in 2:17:18.2 and Sergei Popov, the world marathon record holder at the time, who finished fifth.
Abebe and ben Abdesselam remained together until the last 500 m (1,600 ft). Nearing the Obelisk again, Abebe sprinted to the finish. In the early-evening darkness, his path along the Appian Way was lined with Italian soldiers holding torches. Abebe's winning time was 2:15:16.2, twenty-five seconds faster than ben Abdesselam at 2:15:41.6, and breaking Popov's world record by eight tenths of a second. Immediately after crossing the finish line Abebe began to touch his toes and run in place, and later said that he could have run another 10–15 km (6–9 mi).
Abebe returned to his homeland a hero. He was greeted by a large crowd, many dignitaries and the commander of the Imperial Guard, Brigadier-General Mengistu Neway. Abebe was paraded through the streets of Addis Ababa along a procession route lined with thousands of people and presented to Emperor Haile Selassie. The emperor awarded him the Star of Ethiopia and promoted him to the rank of asiraleqa (corporal). He was given the use of a chauffeur-driven Volkswagen Beetle (since he did not yet know how to drive) and a home, both owned by the Guard.
On December 13, 1960, while Haile Selassie was on a state visit to Brazil, Imperial Guard forces led by Mengistu began an unsuccessful coup and briefly proclaimed Selassie's eldest son Asfaw Wossen Taffari emperor. Fighting took place in the heart of Addis Ababa, shells detonated in the Jubilee Palace, and many of those closest to the emperor were killed. Although Abebe was not directly involved, he was briefly arrested and questioned. Mengistu was later hanged, and his forces (which included many members of the Imperial Guard) were killed in the fighting, arrested or fled.
In the 1961 Athens Classical Marathon, Abebe again won while running barefoot. This was the second and last event in which he competed barefooted. The same year he won the marathons in Osaka and Košice. While in Japan, he was approached by a Japanese shoe company, Onitsuka Tiger, with the possibility of wearing its shoes; they were informed by Niskanen that Abebe had "other commitments." Kihachiro Onitsuka suspected that Abebe had a secret sponsorship deal with Puma, in spite of the now-abandoned rules against such deals.
Abebe ran the 1963 Boston Marathon, finishing fifth in 2:24:43, the only time in his competitive career that he completed an international marathon without winning. He and countryman Mamo Wolde, who finished 12th, had run together on record pace for 18 miles, until cold winds and the hills in Newton caused both to fall back. The race was won by Belgium's Aurele Vandendriessche in a course record 2:18:58. Abebe returned to Ethiopia and did not compete in another marathon until 1964 in Addis Ababa. Abebe won that race in a time of 2:23:14.8.
Forty days before the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, while training in Debre Zeit, Abebe began to feel pain. He was brought to the hospital and diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and had an appendectomy on September 16. Back on his feet in a few days, Abebe left the hospital within a week.
He entered the October 21 marathon, unlike the previous Olympics, wearing Puma shoes. Abebe began the race right behind the lead pack until about the 10 km (6 mi) mark, when he slowly increased his pace. At 15 km (9 mi) his only company was Ron Clarke of Australia in the lead, followed by Jim Hogan of Ireland and Abebe in third. Shortly before 20 km (12 mi), Abebe took the lead; only Hogan was in contention, as Clarke began to slow. By 35 km (22 mi), Abebe was almost two-and-a-half minutes in front of Hogan and Kokichi Tsuburaya of Japan was 17 seconds behind Hogan in third place. Hogan soon dropped out, exhausted, leaving only Tsuburaya three minutes behind Abebe by the 40 km (25 mi) mark.
Abebe entered the Olympic stadium alone, to the cheers of 75,000 spectators. The crowd had been listening on the radio, and anticipated his triumphant entrance. Abebe finished in a new world-record time of 2:12:11.2—four minutes and eight seconds ahead of silver medalist Basil Heatley of Great Britain, who passed Tsuburaya inside the stadium. Tsuburaya was third, a few seconds behind Heatley. After the finish, not appearing exhausted, Abebe again performed a routine of calisthenics, which included touching "his toes twice then [lying] down on his back, cycling his legs in the air."
He was the first athlete in history to successfully defend the Olympic marathon title. As of the 2016 Olympic marathon, Abebe and Waldemar Cierpinski are the only athletes to have won two gold medals in the event. For the second time, Abebe received Ethiopia's only gold medal and again returned home to a hero's welcome. The emperor promoted him to the commissioned-officer rank of metoaleqa (lieutenant). Abebe received the Order of Menelik II, a Volkswagen Beetle and a house.
On April 21, 1965, as part of the opening ceremonies for the second season of the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair, Abebe and fellow athlete and Imperial Guardsman Mamo Wolde, ran a ceremonial half-marathon from the Arsenal in Central Park (at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan) to the Singer Bowl at the fair. They carried a parchment scroll with greetings from Haile Selassie.
The following month, Abebe returned to Japan to win his second Mainichi Marathon held in Shiga Prefecture. In 1966 he ran marathons at Zarautz and Inchon–Seoul, winning both. The following year, Abebe did not finish the Zarautz International Marathon in July 1967. He had injured his hamstring, an injury from which he would never recover. Abebe had begun to limp, and the 1966 Incheon–Seoul Marathon was the last marathon he ever completed.
In July 1968, he travelled to Germany for treatment of "circulatory ailments" in his legs; the German government refused to accept payment for the medical services. Abebe returned in time to join the rest of the Ethiopian Olympic team training in Asmara, which has an altitude (2,200 m or 7,200 ft) and climate similar to Mexico City (the host of the next Olympic Games).
Seeking a third consecutive gold medal, Abebe entered the October 20 Olympic marathon with Mamo Wolde and Gebru Merawi. Symbolically, he was issued bib number 1 for the race. A week before the race, Abebe developed pain in his left leg. Doctors discovered a fracture in his fibula, and he was advised to stay off his feet until the day of the race. Abebe had to drop out of the race after approximately 16 km (10 mi) and Mamo Wolde won in 2:20:26.4. This was Abebe's last marathon appearance. He was rewarded with a promotion to the rank of shambel (captain) upon his return to Ethiopia.
On the night of March 22, 1969, Abebe lost control of his Volkswagen Beetle; it overturned, trapping him inside. According to biographer Tim Judah, he may have been drinking. Judah quotes Abebe's account of the accident from the biography by his daughter, Tsige Abebe, that he tried "to avoid a fast, oncoming car". Judah wrote that it was difficult to know for certain what happened. Abebe was freed from his car the following morning and brought to the Imperial Guard hospital. The accident left him a quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down; he never walked again. On March 29 Abebe was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England, where he spent eight months receiving treatment. He was visited by Queen Elizabeth II and received get-well cards from all over the world. Although Abebe could not move his head at first, his condition eventually improved to paraplegia, regaining the use of his arms.
In 1970, Abebe began training for wheelchair-athlete archery competitions. In July, he competed in archery and table tennis at the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games in London. The following April, Abebe participated in games for the disabled in Norway. Although he had been invited as a guest, he competed in archery and table tennis and defeated a field of sixteen in cross-country sled dog racing with a time of 1:16:17.
Abebe was invited to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich as a special guest, and received a standing ovation during the opening ceremony. His countryman Mamo Wolde did not match his back-to-back Olympic marathon victories, finishing third behind Frank Shorter of the United States and Karel Lismont of Belgium. After Shorter received his gold medal, he shook Abebe's hand.
On October 25, 1973, Abebe died in Addis Ababa at age 41 of a cerebral hemorrhage, a complication related to his accident four years earlier. He was buried with full military honours; his state funeral was attended by an estimated 65,000 people including Haile Selassie, who proclaimed a day of mourning for the country's national hero. Abebe was interred in a tomb with a bronze statue at Saint Joseph Church in Addis Ababa.
Abebe began, and largely inspired, East African preeminence in long-distance running. According to Kenny Moore, a contemporary athlete and writer for Sports Illustrated, he began "the great African distance running avalanche." Abebe brought to the forefront the now-accepted relationship between endurance and high-altitude training in all kinds of sports. Five years after his death, the New York Road Runners inaugurated the annual Abebe Bikila Award for contributions by an individual to long-distance running. East African recipients include Mamo Wolde, Juma Ikangaa, Tegla Loroupe, Paul Tergat, and Haile Gebrselassie.
He is a national hero in Ethiopia, and a stadium in Addis Ababa is named in his honour. In late 1972, the American Community School of Addis Ababa dedicated its gymnasium (which included facilities for the disabled) to Abebe.
On March 21, 2010, the Rome Marathon observed the 50th anniversary of his Olympic victory. The winner, Ethiopian runner Siraj Gena, ran the last 300 m (984 ft) of the race barefoot and received a €5,000 bonus. A plaque commemorating the anniversary is mounted on a wall on the Via di San Gregino, and a footbridge in Ladispoli was named in Abebe's honour.
According to Abebe's New York Times obituary, Abebe and Yewebdar had three sons, along with their daughter Tsige. In 2010, the Italian company Vibram introduced the "Bikila" model of its FiveFingers line of minimalist shoes. In February 2015, Abebe's surviving children Teferi, Tsige and Yetnayet Abebe Bikila, along with their mother, filed a lawsuit in United States federal court in Tacoma, Washington, claiming Vibram violated federal law and the state's Personality Rights Act. The case was dismissed in October 2016 on the grounds that the plaintiffs were aware of Vibram's use of the name in 2011, but did not file suit until four years later. According to judge Ronald Leighton, "... this unreasonable delay prejudiced Vibram."
Abebe has been featured in several documentaries about his life and the Olympics in general. His victory at the 1964 Olympics was featured in the 1965 documentary, Tokyo Olympiad directed by Kon Ichikawa. Footage from that film was recycled in the 1976 thriller, Marathon Man directed by John Schlesinger and starring Dustin Hoffman. Abebe was the subject of Bud Greenspan's 1972 documentary, The Ethiopians. The documentary was incorporated into The Marathon, a 1976 episode of Greenspan's The Olympiad television documentary series. The Marathon, which chronicles Abebe's two Olympic victories, ends with a dedication ceremony for a gymnasium named in Abebe's honour shortly before his death.
In 1992, Yamada Kazuhiro published the first full biography about Abebe, written in Japanese and published in Tokyo; it was entitled Do you remember Abebe? (Japanese: アベベを覚えてますか). Since then, there have been at least three biographical works based on his life. Among these is Triumph and Tragedy, written in English by his daughter Tsige Abebe and published in Addis Ababa in 1996. The other two, also written in English, are Paul Rambali's 2007 fictional biographical novel Barefoot Runner and Tim Judah's 2009 Bikila: Ethiopia's Barefoot Olympian. According to the journalist Tim Lewis's comparative review of the two books, Judah's is a more journalistic, less-forgiving biography of Abebe. It refutes the mythical aspects of his life but recognises Abebe's athletic accomplishments. Judah's account of Abebe's life differs significantly from Rambali's, but confirms (and frequently cites) Tsige's biography. For example, Lewis cites the discrepancy in the circumstances surrounding Abebe's car accident:
Rambali pictures Bikila driving to training in his VW Beetle, only to be forced off the road by a group of students ('screaming, blood-covered young men') who are being chased by armed police. The facts uncovered by Judah point to a less poetic explanation: Bikila was last seen in a bar at 9pm, the roads that night were wet and he was inexperienced behind the wheel.
Abebe is also the subject of a 2009 feature film, Atletu (The Athlete), directed by Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew. The film starring Rasselas focuses on the final years of Abebe's life: his quest to regain the Olympic title, the accident and his struggle to compete again. Robin Williams referred to Abebe's barefoot running during his 2009 stand-up comedy tour, Weapons of Self-Destruction: "[Abebe] won the Rome Olympics running barefoot. He was then sponsored by Adidas. He ran the next Olympics; he carried the fucking shoes". Abebe did not carry his shoes but wore them; he was not sponsored by Adidas but was perhaps secretly sponsored by Puma.
|1960||Armed Forces championship||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||1st||2:39:50|
|Olympic trials||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||1st||2:21:23|
|Olympic Games||Rome, Italy||1st||2:15:16.2|
|1961||Athens International Marathon||Athens, Greece||1st||2:23:44.6|
|Mainichi Marathon||Osaka, Japan||1st||2:29:27|
|Košice Marathon||Košice, Czechoslovakia||1st||2:20:12.0|
|1963||Boston Marathon||Boston, USA||5th||2:24:43a|
|1964||Armed Forces championship||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||1st||2:23:14.8|
|Olympic trials||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||1st||2:16:18.8|
|Olympic Games||Tokyo, Japan||1st||2:12:11.2|
|1965||Mainichi Marathon||Shiga Prefecture, Japan||1st||2:22:55.8|
|1966||Zarautz International Marathon||Zarautz, Spain||1st||2:20:28.8|
|Inchon–Seoul Marathon||Seoul, South Korea||1st||2:17:04a|
|1967||Zarautz International Marathon||Zarautz, Spain||DNF|
|1968||Olympic Games||Mexico City, Mexico||DNF|
| Men's Marathon World Record Holder
September 10, 1960 – February 17, 1963
| Men's Marathon World Record Holder
October 21, 1964 – June 12, 1965
The Abebe Bikila Award is an annual prize given by the New York Road Runners club (NYRR) to honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to the sport of long-distance running. The first recipient of the award was Ted Corbitt, a founder of both NYRR and the Road Runners Club of America, who received the honour on October 27, 1978. The award is named in honour of the two-time Olympic marathon winner Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia.
Past winners of the award include: Olympic gold medallists Frank Shorter, Rosa Mota and Lasse Virén; world record breakers Paula Radcliffe, Khalid Khannouchi and Paul Tergat; and multiple major marathon winners Grete Waitz, Alberto Salazar and Joan Samuelson.While the award has typically been associated with elite level runners, particularly marathon runners, it has also been given to non-athletes. Fred Lebow – creator of the New York Marathon – became the first person to win the award who was not a professional athlete in 1995. The 2001 award was given to Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani on the basis of his dedication to the city in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The 2009 winner, long-time road running organiser and event director Allan Steinfeld, was the third non-professional athlete to receive the award. The Rudin family, long-time sponsors of the New York Marathon, were the first non-individual recipients of the award in 2012.The award is closely linked with NYRR's annual International Friendship Run, a four-mile fun run from United Nations Plaza to Central Park, which is held immediately following the official award presentation event.Abebe Bikila Stadium
Abebe Bikila Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is currently used mostly for football matches, on club level by Dedebit F.C. of the Ethiopian Premier League. The stadium has a capacity of 30,000 spectators. It is named after famed Olympic Marathon champion Abebe Bikila.Abebe Wakgira
Abebe Wakgira (also spelled Abebe Wakjira born 21 October 1921) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. Abebe competed in the marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, finishing seventh in 2:21.09.4. Both he and Abebe Bikila notably run and completed this Olympic marathon barefoot, after having found their team provided shoes uncomfortable.Abichuna Gne'a
Abichuna Gne'a ("Abichu and Gne'a") is one of the woredas in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia. This woreda is named in part for the Abichu Oromo. Part of the Semien Shewa Zone, Abichuna Gne'a is bordered on the south by Kembibit, on the west by Wuchalena Jido, and on the north and east by the Amhara Region. The major town in Abichuna Gne'a is Mendida.
Two-time Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila was born in this woreda, in the village of Jato near Mendida.Adama City F.C.
Adama City Football Club (Amharic: አዳማ ከትማ እግር ኳስ ክለብ) is an Ethiopian football club based in Adama, Ethiopia. They are a member of the Ethiopian Football Federation and play in the Ethiopian Premier League, the top division in Ethiopian football.Athletics at the 1960 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon
These are the official results of the men's marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, held on Saturday September 10, 1960. There were a total number of 69 participants from 35 nations.Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon
The men's marathon was part of the Athletics at the 1964 Summer Olympics program in Tokyo. It was held on 21 October 1964. 79 athletes from 41 nations entered, with 68 starting and 58 finishing.Athletics at the 1968 Summer Olympics – Men's 10,000 metres
The official results of the Men's 10,000 metres Race at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico held on Sunday October 13, 1968. There were a total number of 37 competitors from 23 nations.The great rivalry between East African neighbors Ethiopia and Kenya. While Abebe Bikila had won the Marathon in the two previous Olympics to show Ethiopia's ability, this was Kenya's first ever gold medal, with Naftali Temu outsprinting leader Mamo Wolde on the home straight. Distance running has never been the same, with the two countries battling for virtually every major title since.Aurèle Vandendriessche
Aurèle Vandendriessche (born 4 July 1932) is a retired Belgian marathon runner, who won silver medals at the 1962 and 1966 European Championships. He competed at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics with the best result of seventh place in 1964. Twice winner of the Boston Marathon (1963 and 1964), he recorded his best time there, 2:17:44 in 1965, while finishing fourth.At the 1960 Olympics, Abebe Bikila, followed barefoot at the rear of the lead pack, which was moving at a scorching pace and included Arthur Keily, Bakir Benaïssa, Rhadi Ben Abdesselam who was the reigning world cross-country champion, Bertie Messitt, the marathon world record holder Sergey Popov, and Vandendriessche. Bikila won, setting a world record at 2:15:16.2. After they dispatched the rest of the field by 25 kilometers, Abdesselam stayed with Bikila until the final 500 meters, finishing second at in 2:15:41.6. Vandendriessche abandoned the race. He placed seventh at the 1964 Olympics, where Bikila won again with a new worlds record.Bakir Benaïssa
Bakir Benaïssa (born 7 April 1931) is a Moroccan former long-distance runner, born in Rabat, who competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, finishing 8th in the marathon in 2:21:21.4, and in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He won the quadrennial Mediterranean Games marathons in 1959 and 1963.
The blazing start through twelve miles in the 1960 Rome marathon resulted in an eventual world record for winner, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, with Benaïssa's teammate, Rhadi Ben Abdesselam, finishing a close second.Basil Heatley
Benjamin Basil Heatley (born 25 December 1933) is a retired British runner, who mainly competed in the marathon.On 13 June 1964 Heatley broke the world record for the marathon at the Polytechnic Marathon in England, running 2:13:55 to surpass Buddy Edelen's world best from the previous year's race by 33 seconds. Four months later, on 21 October 1964, Heatley competed in the marathon at the 1964 Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. Defending Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila won another Olympic gold medal in another world record time. Heatley managed to stay close to Japan's Kokichi Tsuburaya and passed Tsuburaya shortly before the finish line to win the silver medal.He was a seven time participant at the International Cross Country Championships from 1957 to 1964. He was the runner-up to teammate Frank Sando at his first outing in the senior race and became the world champion in the sport at the 1961 International Cross Country Championships.Bertie Messitt
Bertie Messitt (28 September 1930 – 18 February 2012) was an Irish long-distance runner. He was educated in Saint Cronan's Boys' National School in Bray. A bus conductor, he won his fourth Irish cross country title in 1961. By the time he had ended his competitive career in 1966, he had recorded 16 Irish records, nine in 1958 alone: 13:44 for three miles, 14:14.8 for 5,000m, 49:33 for 10 miles. He finished 13th in the European Marathon Championships in Belgrade in 1962. His best marathon time, 2:25.39, was set in 1963. He won the Irish marathon championship in 1960, running 2:28:40, qualifying him for the Irish team in the marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
For 12 miles, Bertie led the Olympic's lead pack at a blistering pace. It included Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, running barefoot, who became the world record-breaking winner, Moroccans Rhadi Ben Abdesselam, the eventual runner up, and Bakir Benaïssa (8th place), as well as Belgium's Aurèle Vandendriessche, the Soviet Union's Sergey Popov, who lost his world record while finishing fifth, and Great Britain's Arthur Keily, who faded to 25th. Messitt, spent from his gallant effort, dropped out at 20 miles.Ethiopia at the 1960 Summer Olympics
Ethiopia competed at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. Ten competitors, all men, took part in eight events in two sports. Abebe Bikila won the country's first ever Olympic medal by winning the men's marathon.Ethiopia at the 1964 Summer Olympics
Ethiopia competed at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Twelve competitors, all men, took part in eleven events in three sports. Abebe Bikila repeated as Olympic champion in the men's marathon.List of flag bearers for Ethiopia at the Olympics
This is a list of flag bearers who have represented Ethiopia at the Olympics.Flag bearers carry the national flag of their country at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.Rhadi Ben Abdesselam
Rhadi Ben Abdesselam (Arabic: راضي بن عبد السلام; 28 February 1929 – 4 October 2000) was a Moroccan long-distance runner. He competed at the 1960 Olympics in the marathon and 10,000 meters events.He also ran in the International Cross Country Championships in 1958–1963. In March 1960, he and Belgium's Gaston Roelants quickly broke away from the field, and he became the first African athlete to win the individual gold medal in that event, defeating Roelants by 40 yards.On September 8, 1960, he finished in 14th place in the finals-only 10,000 meters, in 29:32.0, almost a minute behind the winner, the Soviet Union's Pyotr Bolotnikov, who broke the Olympic record for the event.Just two days later, the blazing pace through the first 20 kilometers in the marathon helped result in an eventual world record for the barefoot winner, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila. After they dispatched the rest of the field by 25 kilometers, the leading pair stayed stride-for-stride until the final 500 meters, with Ben Abdesselam finishing a close second in 2:15:41.6, 25.4 seconds behind Abebe's new world record. Abebe's mark trimmed 8/10ths of a second off Sergei Popov's world record of 2:15:17.0, set in 1958. Ironically, Abebe had been advised to watch out for Ben Abdesselam, but the latter wore his 10,000 meter competition number, so Abebe was unaware of the identity of his pursuer. Popov finished 5th in Rome, two minutes behind New Zealand's Barry Magee, who took the bronze medal.Sergei Popov (athlete)
Sergei Konstantinovich Popov (Russian: Сергей Константинович Попов, 21 September 1930 – 25 June 1995) was a Russian marathon runner. He won a gold medal at the 1958 European Championships setting a new world record at 2:15:17; this record stood for more than two years and remained the Soviet national record until 1970. He also set a world record in Moscow, on June 15, 1958, for 30 kilometers, running 1:32:58.8.
Popov won the Soviet marathon title in 1957, when he ran the world's fastest marathon of the year in 2:19:50 in Moscow, 1958 and 1959, and placed second in 1962 and third in 1963. In 1959, he set the course record at the Košice Peace Marathon, the third year in a row he ran the world's fastest time. He finished fifth at the 1960 Summer Olympics when the winner, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, broke Popov's world record by less than a second.The Athlete
The Athlete may refer to:
The Athlete (1932 film), a 1932 short animated film, part of the Pooch the Pup series
The Athlete (2009 film), a 2009 film portraying the life of Ethiopian marathon-runner Abebe BikilaThe Athlete (2009 film)
The Athlete (Amharic: እትሌቱ, Atletu) is a 2009 Ethiopian drama film directed by Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew. The film was selected as the Ethiopian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist. It was the first Ethiopian film to be submitted in the category for Best Foreign Language Film. The film has been reviewed in an international journal.A mixture of fiction and stock footage, The Athlete is a portrait of the marathon runner from Ethiopia, Abebe Bikila. In 1960, he participated in the Rome Olympic Games as a complete unknown. However, the son of a shepherd ran barefoot and won the gold medal. Four years later, he repeated his feat at the Tokyo Olympic Games, becoming the first man to win the Olympic marathon twice in a row. A few years later, he suffered a car accident and lost the use of his legs. He died four years later.
Košice Peace Marathon – men's winners
Tokyo Marathon – men's winners
|Tokyo International Marathon|