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Bikila, Adebe

Born: 1932 AD
Died: 1973 AD
Nationality: Ethiopian
Categories: Track and Field Athlete

1932 – Born on the 7th of August in Montgomery, Ethiopia. Ethiopian marathon runner.

1956 – The son of a shepherd, Bikila began running at age 24.

1960 – Won a gold medal and set an unofficial world record while running barefoot at the 60’s Olympic Games in Rome. 

       –  He was little known outside of Ethiopia when he entered the Olympics and ran the marathon, barefoot, on the cobblestones of the Appian Way.

       – Tied for the lead for much of the race, he broke ahead in the last 1,000 metres and crossed the finish line at the Arch of Constantine in 2 hours 15 minutes 15.2 seconds.

1964 – Bested his own record at the 64′ Olympics in Tokyo. He was the first athlete to win two Olympic marathons.

       –  He underwent an appendectomy a month before the Tokyo Olympics.

       – He won a second gold medal, running the marathon—this time wearing shoes—in 2 hours 12 minutes 11.2 seconds.

1968 – He entered the 68′ Olympics in Mexico City but was forced to drop out of the marathon with a broken leg after 10 miles.

       – A member of the emperor Haile Selassie’s imperial bodyguards, Bikila rose to the rank of captain in the palace guard.

1969 – An automobile accident left him a paraplegic.

1973 – He died on the 25th of October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.