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GEBRSELASSIE Haile
GEBRSELASSIE Haile

Haile GEBRSELASSIE

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Haile Gebrselassie is considered one of the greatest runners in history, with victories and world records in almost every long-distance and middle-distance event.

Born to run

As a child growing up on a farm in Ethiopia, Haile Gebrselassie ran 10 kilometres to school each day and another 10 kilometres back home. As an adult, he ran with his left arm crooked, the effect of years spent running with books under his arm.

Great rivalry

By Atlanta in 1996, Gebrselassie was the reigning world record holder at 10,000m and the twice-defending world champion. His main rival was cross-country champion Paul Tergat of Kenya. The two men dominated the final with Gebrselassie winning dramatically by just six metres. This tense rivalry was repeated in Sydney, when Gebrselassie sensationally took gold with his very last stride.

A change of pace

At the 2004 Athens Games, Gebrselassie finished 5th in the 10,000m. After Athens, he concentrated on the half-marathon and the marathon, and soon became a specialist. He won many prestigious victories in the Berlin, Fukuoka and Dubai races. He even set a world record in the distance in 2007.

Passing on the legacy

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Haile Gebrselassie finished sixth in the marathon. It was won by Kenenisa Bekele, who is considered to be his distance-running heir.

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Mens 10000m Finals

ATHENS - AUGUST 20: Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele and Sileshi Sihine of Ethiopia lead the men's 10,000 metre event on August 20, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in the Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Haile Gebrselassie;Kenenisa Bekele;Sileshi Sihine
Athletics Men's 1000m
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Athletics Men's 1000m

Haile Gebrselassie ETH (Gold) and Paul Tergat KEN (Silver) during the 10,000 metres at the Olympic Stadium on Day 10 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Sydney, Australia, 25 September 2000.
Getty Images / Adam Pretty
Athletics Men's 1000m
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Athletics Men's 1000m

Paul Tergat KEN is overtaken by Haile Gebrselassie ETH down the home straight of the Mens 10000m Final at the Olympic Stadium on Day 10 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Sydney, Australia, 25 September 2000.
Allsport / Stu Forster
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Oly M 10000m Xjpg

25 Sep 2000: Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia celebrates after winning the Men's 10000m final at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney Australia. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Darren England/ALLSPORT
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GEBRSELASSIELEICHTATHLETIK OLYMPISCHE SPIELE SYDNEY 2000

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: OLYMPISCHE SPIELE SYDNEY 2000, Sydney; MAENNER/10000m; GOLD fuer Haile GEBRSELASSIE/ETH (Photo by Henri Szwarc/Bongarts/Getty Images)
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Haile Gebrselassie

25 Sep 2000: Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia on his way to gold in the Mens 10000m Final at the Olympic Stadium on Day 10 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell /Allsport
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