Abebe Bikila Quotes

Abebe Bikila (Amharic: ??? ????; August 7, 1932 – October 25, 1973) was an Ethiopian double Olympic marathon champion. He won the marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome while running barefoot, setting a world record. At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Abebe was the first person to successfully defend an Olympic marathon title and broke his own world record. He was a member of the Ethiopian Imperial Guard, an elite infantry division that safeguarded the Emperor of Ethiopia. Enlisting as a non-commissioned officer before his athletic career, he rose to the rank of shambel (captain). In Ethiopia, Abebe is formally known as Shambel Abebe Bikila (Amharic: ???? ??? ????)

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Abebe Bikila


I wanted the world to know that my country Ethiopia has always won with determination and heroism.

Abebe Bikila


Men of success meet with tragedy. It was the will of God that I won the Olympics, and it was the will of God that I met with my accident. I accepted those victories as I accept this tragedy. I have to accept both circumstances as facts of life and live happily.

Abebe Bikila