Abebe Bikila had only run two marathons before winning and running a PR by over six minutes in Rome

DID YOU KNOW? Abebe Bikila was a member of the Imperial Bodyguard, and was a last-minute addition to the Ethiopian team but caused a sensation by running barefoot through the streets of Rome and winning gold, at the 1960 Olympic Games. Four years later he retained the title, this time wearing shoes. On both occasions he clocked world best times... Abebe participated in a total of sixteen marathons, winning twelve and finishing fifth in the 1963 Boston Marathon. In July 1967, he sustained the first of several sports-related leg injuries which prevented him from finishing his last two marathons. On March 22, 1969, Abebe was paralyzed as a result of a car accident. Although he regained some upper-body mobility, he never walked again. He died at age 41 on October 25, 1973, of a cerebral hemorrhage related to his car accident. He had only run two marathons before Rome and there he set a PR by over six minutes.

posted Tuesday February 13th