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Abebe Bikila – Barefooter wins 1960 marathon

May 5, 2011 3 comments

Abebe Bikila represented Ethiopia sans shoes in the 1960 Rome Olympics and became the first black African to win gold. Truly inspirational. He ran barefoot because he was unable to find a comfortable pair of running shoes and he had been regularly training barefoot. There are some other videos here and here — the latter had close-up slow-motion of Abebe running, but it appears to have been pulled from YouTube :(.

According to the Wikipedia article he made the decision to go barefoot just a few hours before the race and had trained for the race barefoot. Ultimately he did it because, in his words, he “wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”


VFF Bikila running shoe model

In 2010, fifty years after Abebe’s historic win, Vibram released its Bikila model of VFFs, helping to bring Abebe-style running to the masses. Click on image for a good review of the Bikilas.

Do you think we’ll ever see another barefoot Olympic marathoner? Perhaps a VFF-er?

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Categories: running, VFF Tags: , , ,