The greatest athlete the world has ever known or will know stopped... this Sunday. Having set over two dozen world records starting from 3000 metre to 42 km this son of a farmer from the highlands of Ethiopia pulled out from the New York marathon as he was leading the pack at the 16 km mark. His compatriot Gebre Gebremariam went on to win the race. To understand Haile's greatness its sufficient to see the stunning performances, records and consistency with which he has dominated all the distance categories that he participated in. He still holds the world record in 3000 metre and has 2 two Olympic gold medals in the 10,000 metres. To that if you add what it means to be a runner in one of the poorest countries in the world you'll probably understand why he is the greatest ever. No wonder he is, 'The Emperor' in Ethiopia.
This title has a special significance in Ethiopia whose last Emperor, " Haile Selassie" Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 was heir to a dynasty that traced its origins to the 13th century, and from there by tradition back to King Solomon and the Oueen of Sheba , The last emperor is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history. By those standards Haile has marked himself as the defining figure in world athletics for posterity.
This 37 year old world beater runs a network of schools, sports clubs and businesses that employs thousands of Ethiopians...he will continue to run for Ethiopia. His fans across the world hope that as some time passes he will rethink, return...and ....run
Hail Haile Gebreselassie