The Story of Ethiopian Athletics Star Haile Gebrselassie | Legends Live On

To win the Olympics, you are
special for that distance
and a dream, I mean, especially
a country like Ethiopia.
When you win the Olympics,
you are the best of the best.
My father and my parent,
they didn’t understand about
sport, especially my father.
He said to me, “Oh, man, don’t
do this kind of job.
“This is, you know,
just kind of wasting time.”
If you are a farmer of Ethiopia
you have to work hard
which means there’s a whole day
busy in the field.
He was brought up on a farm in
a rural part of Ethiopia,
and I remember him telling me
he stole his father’s radio to
go into the field
and listen to his dad’s radio
because he wanted to listen to
Miruts Yifter
running the Olympics in 1980.
The Ethiopian long distance
headed by Miruts Yifter.
When I was seven, I always
think about this guy.
I wish, you know,
just to become like him.
He said to me, when I realised
that Miruts Yifter was from
Ethiopia as well,
winning a gold medal
in the Olympic Games,
and I saw the reaction of
how they behaved
and how they wrote about him
and talked about him
and venerated him,
he said, I decided then
that’s what I want to be,
I want to be an Olympic
I met Haile Gebrselassie when
he was 18 years old in
Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
He was different from other
because he was very
Even when his English
wasn’t that good, you know,
he tried very hard to speak
and now his English
has gotten very good,
and he always had
this great gap-tooth grin.
He still has the same gap-tooth
that hasn’t changed about him.
So there was always something
very approachable about
Haile Gebrselassie.
My father, the only time
he realised athletics was good,
was when I won a World
Championship in Stuttgart.
It’s not just because I won in
but because of what I won,
I mean, the car.
We had no car before and my
father when he saw that car,
how possible this?
“From running?”
“Yes, from running.”
“Are you sure that this is
your car?”
“Yeah, it’s my car, believe
“Wow, keep it up!”
The most important thing
is he was not running for
He’s smart, he understands,
don’t think about short-term
money, you know.
If you perform well,
the money will follow,
like everything in life and
he understood that
like nobody else.
Going into the Atlanta
Haile was a clear favourite,
and he was
everybody’s favourite, as well.
He was the first athlete in my
experience as a commentator
who stood on the start line
and he was smiling on the
start line.
The diminutive figure against
the tall figure of Paul Tergat,
there was a rivalry between
the two of them,
it was Kenya versus Ethiopia.
MEN’S 10,000M FINAL)
I was injured. By the time
I ran the semifinal, it was
very hard.
Unlike most distance runners,
Haile ran up on the balls of
his feet.
Each step must have hurt
and there are a lot of steps in
25 laps.
When he finished that race,
his feet looked like they were
ground beef.
He willed himself to win that.
Representing Ethiopia,
Haile Gebrselassie.
My reaction, it was tears,
I was crying.
I didn’t know that when I was
I didn’t know how it came.
For me it looks because of
dream come true for me.
I was dreaming this for many
years, since when I was seven,
I’m telling you.
Silver medallist, Paul Tergat.
Paul Tergat was doing
everything he possibly could
to try and win a gold medal.
He came along at the time when
there was a man called
Haile Gebrselassie.
Between me and Paul, it’s a
long rivalry,
but one thing you don’t forget,
do you expect athletics
so popular without?
For Ethiopia, we need Kenyan,
for Kenyan, they need us.
This is a peace fight
between the two countries.
The best moment of my athletics
career was Sydney 2000
between me and Paul Tergat.
I can say did I win or not?
The interesting thing
about Sydney in 2000
was that Haile was a little bit
If Paul Tergat would have run
the race from ’96,
Haile would not be
the Olympic champion.
But he waited until the last
300 metres
and he came to the front.
Haile, come on, let’s go.
It was between life and death.
He won that race and
that showed his lion mentality.
The lion of Ethiopia,
I mean, he never gave up.
It was one of the closest
I mean, 10,000m athletics.
10,000m in Sydney was so close
that it was closer than either
of the 100m races.
Haile was having injury
he was building up his business
he’d won two Olympic
gold medals
and he knew he’d met his match
with Kenenisa Bekele.
You cannot keep 10,000,
5,000 metres forever.
When you’re getting slower,
the others, they beat you
When you’re getting older
you cannot keep the same speed
that you used to have.
I switched to the marathon.
I brought a kind of a
revolution for the marathon.
You look at two standards,
one is winning major races.
He won World Championships
at the 1,500, the 5,000
and the 10,000,
and the other one is setting
world records,
and Haile did both of them.
I don’t see how you cannot call
Haile Gebrselassie
the greatest distance runner of
all time.
In total, 27 world records
and four World Championships
five for indoor and two
I’m good, and now different,
a different thing to do.
I started with
the Great North Run.
People there,
Brendan Foster and John Carey.
So I spoke to Miles Wickstead,
who was the ambassador for
The three of us got together
and we launched
the Great Ethiopian Run.
And thank you to the Great
North Run
to help found the
Great Ethiopia Run,
now the Great Ethiopia Run
is great.
This year it’s going to be
42,000 people,
the biggest in Africa.
We closed the north-east road
for five, four hours, why not?
Let them enjoy.
Haile Gebrselassie, he is the
one who inspired us to run.
He is a good runner
and he is a strong man.
Slowly we are trying to bring
more tourists to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is a country full of
many things, yeah, come.
Right now I am doing many
different businesses.
I have a resort hotel.
The profitable one is a car
They’re a fun business.
This is my favourite business,
I’m telling you.
Right now, I have over 1,800
employees in the company.
Haile is very important
in the community.
He has been selected President
of the Ethiopian Athletics
As the President of the
Ethiopian Athletics Federation,
one of the main goals
is to work seriously with the
and the other very important
zero tolerance against doping.
In my time in athletics
I’ve met some great athletes.
Of all of them, Haile is the
He was in many ways
the greatest runner,
in lots of ways the greatest
he’s a great man of Africa,
he’s a great man of Ethiopia,
he could end up president of
the country.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Haile was truly a great runner who showed how to come from the mid pack and use his his great finish and he also used his mental toughness to out-think his competitors.

  2. ሀይሌ ገ/ስላሴ የቀን ጅብ ነው ! This man is a snake – a trator who sold the people of Ethiopia to the most evil ethno-centric Tigrayan junta. He's got blood in his hand and will be brought to justice one day. Boycott Haile Gebrselassie.

  3. He is the greatest runner of the all time, but he can't be a country president. We all love him for his great contributions to the country. However none of us want him to be a leader because of his understanding of democracy.

  4. Haile Gebresillassie, the great son of Ethiopia and Africa! We Ethiopians are always proud of you! Thank you!!!

  5. Ato Haile!!! One of my achievement is to be able to met him in person and shook his hand. He is really a humble guy, always smiling, down to earth, a very likable guy.

  6. I met him and tirunesh at the airport a few years ago in the ethiopian airport but I couldn't take a picture because my parents phone battery was gone

  7. It's impossible not to feel uplifted when you see Haile's beaming smile. He always smiles, even after gruelling and punishing races.

  8. Our great man hile, we are so proud of you, hope you share your commitment to the youth, and what you went through with no family support, the trial and tribulations you went through, I simply admire you.
    Ethiopians,Africans and all blacks around the world like to see just this. based on your interview and human instinct I personally think you are really humble, if I suggest one thing I am not pleased with your lately making comments where you shouldn't. I personally think you are just naive for that reason I gave you the benefit of doubt like many will forgive you.
    Focuses on shaping our athletes and enjoy your hard earned businesses.
    just dont coment on democracy and other businesses that you are never good at, coz it will damage your greatness and you being legend.
    From your fan.

  9. 8:03–8:05: ‘’Why Not?….Let Them Enjoy!!!!” 🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃🏾‍♂️

     no words can describe how difficult und tough it is to reach this level of running and to hold it about 20 years.
    Further he has such a positive character, he is a role model for running und attitude of life

  11. I didn't like the conclusion about the comments by this mango 🥭 head. We all know he’s a good athlete in the world but that doesn't mean he can be a president of the country shame on you and let me tell you something that Ethiopia/africa have a alot intelligent people who can be a leader of this world 🌎 just need sometime to get there
    100% much love 🇪🇹

  12. I remember being a kid in Ethiopia watching this guy on tv just dominating the long distance race year after year

  13. The only thing a true athlete cares about is the nutrition and health needed to practice the certain discipline well.

  14. Now he is one of the good bussnes man in our country i just see a,news he is going to do something good for public services thankyou so much our hero

  15. Nice to hear that he underlines the zero tolerance for doping. It's so sad to see so many athletes avoiding to speak about doping at all. *looking at you Kenia

  16. Haile was succesfull in running now he is succesfull in buisness in his country.

  17. Can some one tell me what year was the song of Teddy Afro' s Haile ;Haile song come out i am looking that time video when they running 3 of them

  18. So when runners dope, how does it help them? Is it supposed to help them run longer or faster?? It’s running so I don’t understand

  19. My king hero hayle g/silase Verry Verry good 👍👍😃😃👌👌😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️

  20. Legado de Abebe Bikila es Gerbreselae.
    Gerbresale es el legado de nosotros ahora mismo.
    La historia trasciende. Gran reportaje

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