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Tirunesh Dibaba

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 0
Bronze 3
Total 6
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full nameTirunesh•Dibaba Keneni
Used nameTirunesh•Dibaba
Nick/petnamesBaby Faced Destroyer
Born1 October 1985 in Bekoji (ETH)
Measurements166 cm / 50 kg
AffiliationsCorrections Police / Mizuno Track Club
NOC Ethiopia

Biography

Tirunesh Dibaba is on the short list of any compilation of greatest female distance runners. At four Olympics (2004-16), she won six Olympic medals, with gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 in 2008 and repeated as 10K champion in 2012. Her Olympic bronze medals came in the 5,000 in 2004 and 2012 and the 10,000 in 2016.

Dibaba has won nine World Championship titles, winning the 5,000 in 2003 and 2005, and adding the 10,000 in 2005, making her the first woman to win the 5 and 10K at the same World Championships. In 2007 and 2013 she repeated as the 10,000 World Champion. With her 2003 World championship title, she became the youngest World Champion at the age of 18 years and 90 days.

Her other four world titles all came in cross-country, winning the short-course worlds in 2005, and the long-course worlds in 2005-06 and 2008. She is one of two women (the other being Sonia O’Sullivan) who won the short and long course World Cross-Country title at the same championship (2005 in Saint Galmier, France). In addition to her international titles, Dibaba won numerous Diamond League and Grand Prix meets.

Dibaba married the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 10K silver medalist Sileshi Sihine. Her older sister, Ejegayehy Dibaba won silver in the 10,000 at the 2004 Athina Olympics, while her younger sister, Genzebe Dibaba, held world records, as of 2022, in the 1,500 and 2,000 metres and indoor world records at 1,500 metres, one mile, 3,000 metres, and 5,000 metres.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 14:11.15 (2008); 10000 – 29:54.66 (2008).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
2004 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Tirunesh Dibaba
5,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
2008 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Tirunesh Dibaba
5,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
10,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
2012 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Tirunesh Dibaba
5,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
10,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
2016 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Tirunesh Dibaba
10,000 metres, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
2012 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony ETH Tirunesh Dibaba

Olympic family relations

Special Notes

Errata

We list DOB as 1 October, although 1 June is seen in the Olympic entry lists for 2008, 2012, and 2016. We have been in contact with athletics statisticians and historians who have been in contact with both Dibaba and her husband, but even that is not conclusive, although one statistician noted that Dibaba herself has stated it is 1 October, which is why we choose that date. It should be noted that in Ethiopia there are no formal birth registrations so it may be difficult to decipher this problem.