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Abebe Bikila


Full Name: Abebe Bikila

Date of Birth: 7 th August, 1932

Died on: 25 th October, 1973

Country: Ethiopia

Sport involved in: Marathon, Athletics

Achievements made:

  • Gold medal winner in the marathon in the 1960 Rome Summer Games
  • World record setter in the Marathon
  • Gold medal winner in the marathon with a new world record in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games
  • Career: Abebe Bikila was born in an Oromo family. He served in the Imperial Guard under Emperor Haile Selassie. Bikila was the two-time gold medal winner in the Olympic marathon competition. At the age of 28, Bikila participated in the Summer Games for the first time at the 1960 Rome Summer Games in the event of marathon. He became the winner. Bikila also made a world record in the history of marathon by finishing the race in 2::15:16.2 seconds. Bikila became a national hero after winning the Olympic title as he was the first black African to win a gold medal in the Olympics. He also became famous for running bare foot. Bikila again competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics . This time, Bikila wore running shoes during the competition. In spite of having an appendectomy, Bikila was able to defend his Olympic title. He made the new world record in the event with a timing of 2::12:11.2 seconds. In the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics , Bikila could not complete the race. Bikila had a car accident in 1969. After the accident, he regained full health. Bikila died on 25 th October, 1973 at Addis Ababa from a cerebral Hemorrhage. There a stadium has been named after this great athlete.

    Performance at the Olympics: Abebe Bikila performed in the 1960 Rome Summer Games in the marathon event. He won in the historical race beating his co-runner Rhadi Ben Adbesselem of Morocco by 200 meter. Bikila ran the race bare foot and reached the finishing line in a record time of 2::15:16.2 seconds. This deed made him very famous in his country as well as the world of athletes. Bikila became the first black African to win an Olympic title. Bikila participated in the Olympics for the second time in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games. This time he became the first ever marathon runner to defend his title. In spite of having an appendectomy, Bikila finished the race in 2::12:11.2 seconds, making yet another world record. He also participated at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. He could not acclimatize in the high altitude, and abandoned the race after 17 kilometer.

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