Kip Keino was the first great Kenyan middle- or long-distance runner, and inspired many of his fellow countrymen and women to become a distance running force. Keino played rugby before taking up athletics, and then served with the Kenyan Police Force, before beginning his international career at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, where he finished 11th in the 3-mile race. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics he finished fifth in the 5,000 m and barely missed the 1,500 m final. On 27 August 1965, Keino improved the 3,000 m world record by over 6 seconds, recording 7:39.6 in his first attempt at the distance. Later in 1965 he broke the 5,000 m world record, clocking 13:24.2. At the 1966 Commonwealth Games, Keino won both the mile and 3-miles, while at the 1970 Commonwealth Games he defended in the 1,500 m, and finished third in the 5,000 m. Despite suffering from an illness at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Keino won the 1,500 m gold medal and 5,000 m silver medal, and then won the 3,000 m steeplechase, adding a silver in the 1,500 m at the 1972 München Olympics.
After finishing his sporting career in 1973, Keino lived on a farm in Western Kenya where he headed a charitable foundation for orphans and became president of the Kenyan Olympic Committee. In 1996 he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame and in 2012 he was one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall Of Fame. At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Opening Ceremony, Keino was given the first Olympic Laurel, in honor of his service to the Olympic Movement.
Personal Bests: 1500 – 3:34.91 (1968); 5000 – 13:24.2 (1965); 10000 – 28:06.4 (1968); 3000S – 8:23.64 (1972).