Footage of Abebe Bikila representing Ethiopia sans shoes in the 1960 Rome Olympics. See 1:14 and 2:50 for some close-up, slow-motion of Abebe running. Truly inspirational. Here’s another video (this one in English) that gives some additional background, noting that he ran barefoot because he was unable to find a comfortable pair of running shoes. 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 did it because, in his words, he “wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”
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?