Kenenisa Bekele

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameKenenisa•Bekele Beyecha
Used nameKenenisa•Bekele
Original nameቀነኒሳ•በቀለ
Born13 June 1982 in near Bekoji, Oromiya (ETH)
Measurements165 cm / 56 kg
AffiliationsMugar AC
NOC Ethiopia
Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 4


Kenenisa Bekele started out as a football player, but soon switched to running, and is considered among the greatest ever distance runners. The short Ethiopian was seen as the successor to Haile Gebrselassie. Bekele’s first successes came in cross-country. From 2002-06, he won both the short and long races at the International Cross-Country Championships, and with his sixth title in the long cross-country in 2008, he broke Paul Tergat’s record number of titles.

Bekele also had success on the track. In 2004, he broke the world record in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, with 12:37.35 and 26:17.53, respectively, also setting an indoor best mark of 12:49.60 in 2004. In 2003 he won his first World Championship in the 10,000, repeating in 2005 and 2007, and winning the 5-10K double in 2009 at the World Championships. At the 2004 Athina Olympics, he tried to win the 5 and 10K double but after a win in the longest race, he was beaten by Hicham El Guerrouj in the 5,000. In 2008 at Beijing, he won both events with relative ease.

Bekele’s greatest setback came in 2005, when his fiancé Alem Techale (a former World Youth Champion) died of heart failure while training with Bekele. He dedicated his three World Titles he won later that year to her memory.

Bekele also took to the roads. He won the 2014 Paris Marathon in 2-05:04, the fastest ever début time. He won the Berlin Marathon in 2016 and 2019, winning in 2019 with 2-01:41, just missing Eliud Kipchoge’s world record of 2-01:39. At the London Marathon he finished third in 2016 and second in 2017.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 12:37.35 (2004); 10000 – 26:17.53 (2005); Mara – 2-01:41 (2019).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
2004 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Kenenisa Bekele
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
2008 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Kenenisa Bekele
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
2012 Summer Olympics Athletics ETH Kenenisa Bekele
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 4

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
2008 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony ETH Kenenisa Bekele

Olympic family relations

Special Notes