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Abebe Bikila

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameAbebe•Bikila
Used nameAbebe•Bikila
Original nameአበባ•ቢቂላ
Born7 August 1932 in Jato (ETH)
Died25 October 1973 in Addis Ababa (ETH)
Measurements177 cm / 57 kg
NOC(s) Ethiopia

Biography

Though his life came to a tragic early end, Abebe Bikila is often considered the greatest marathoner ever. He was the first person to win the Olympic marathon consecutively, doing so in 1960 and 1964. His marathon career began only a few months before the Rome Olympics in 1960, when he won a trial race in the altitude of Addis Ababa. Between that race and a marathon he won in Seoul in October 1966, Bikila ran 13 marathons, winning 12, losing at the 1963 Boston Marathon, in which he finished fifth. He sustained an injury in 1967 and never fully recovered, which caused him to withdraw after starting the 1968 Olympic marathon Mexico City. Late in 1969, Bikila was in a car accident, and the injuries he sustained rendered him a quadriparetic. After treatment at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, his condition improved to paraplegic, and he even competed as an archer in the 1969 Stoke Mandeville Games, the forerunner of the Paralympic Games. He lived only a few more years, dying in October 1973. His funeral in Addis Ababa was attended by thousands who came to mourn their nation’s first great runner.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-12:12 (1964).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics Marathon, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Ethiopia    
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics Marathon, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Ethiopia    
1968 Summer Olympics Athletics Marathon, Men Olympic AC Representing Ethiopia    

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1960 Summer Olympics 10 September 1960 Athletics Marathon, Men Final Standings 2-15:16.2 WR 1
1964 Summer Olympics 21 October 1964 Athletics Marathon, Men Final Standings 2-12:11.2 WR 1

Other participations

Games Role Details
1964 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony Representing Ethiopia    
1964 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony Representing Ethiopia    
1968 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony Representing Ethiopia    

Special Notes