In the second part of the 20-th century, many of Ethiopia’s proudest moments had come when one of her children won a major international athletics competition. The legendary Abebe Bikila gave humanity lasting images of triumph, humbleness and victory. Who will forget the site of this man running bare-foot in the cobbles of Rome-totally unexpected and unassuming-only to win the most prestigious of all running feats, the Marathon? How about the Mexico City Olympics of 1968 when injury sidelined Abebe? Sport writers and broadcasters had ruled about a victory by an Ethiopian when the light-hearted but brave Mamo Wolde run the race of his life to bring the Gold medal to his country.
How about Derartu Tulu and her victory lap in Barcelona in 1992? Ethiopia’s green, yellow and red flew high and tall in beautiful Barcelona and a legend was born. The mind races to Atlanta in 1996. A hot and humid day and the women’s marathon. Who had expected the humble but strong-as-steel Ethiopian queen by the name of Fatuma Roba to lead the race almost unchallenged all the way to the finish line? Fatuma is now a legend by her own right and a familiar winner in all major women’s marathon races across the Globe.
And then there is the Lion himself-Haile Gebre Selassie (also known as Emperor Gabe by his fans around the world). Ethiopians call him "Jegnaw" (Fearless Hero). Haile is a man declared by the world press as the best long-distance runner that has ever lived on the planet. This is a man who breaks and makes 5-6 records in a single year in distances varying from 2 miles to 5K, 10K and the Marathon. This is a man who takes a whole team of runners from Kenya, Morocco and Algeria by himself and wins races so decisively. So much has been written about this humble, affable and modest modern Ethiopia’s ambassador to the world. Haile has set a personal goal of winning the most prestigious long-distance run-the Marathon in the near future. All sport-lovers around the world await his triumph that essentially is a triumph of the will, the mind and the body that is common in all of us.
As the legend continues, Kenenisa Bekele, seems poised to take Ethiopian athletics and dominance in long distance running to newer heights - to heights even the unforgettable Abebe Bikila could not have dreamt of.
This outpost on cyberspace documents the triumphs of these men and women that have brought pride and unforgettable moments of sportsmanship to sport lovers around the Globe.