Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Olympics' barefoot champion

The famous barefeet of Abebe Bikila, the Olympics'
greatest marathon runner. Sportscaster Card

"Going barefoot... can symbolise a way of living — being authentic, vulnerable, sensitive to our surroundings. It's the feeling of enjoying warm sand beneath our toes, or carefully making our way over sharp rocks in the darkness. It's a way of living that has the lightest impact, removing the barrier between us and nature."
— Adele Coombs, "Barefoot Dreaming"

1960 Rome Olympics: Abebe Bikila, Ethiopia, in marathon leading Abdesiem Rhadi Ben
Abdesselem of Morocco.

Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila was the 'father of the great East African runners.' Timed running with and without shoes, Bikila actually ran faster without them. He was the first to win the gold medal in two Olympic marathons. In the first famous race, Bikila ran barefoot on the Appian Way's cobblestones at 1960 Rome Olympics, breaking the previous 1952 Olympic marathon record by almost eight minutes. Ironically, Bikela's win happened in Italy, the country that invaded his native Ethiopia 30 years earlier.

Click to read more about Abebe Bikila at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics .

Read about the running barefoot lifestyle.

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