If Olympic Records show the health status of the youth of a nation, Ethiopia's record show very little progress.
Ethiopians seem to have chosen only distance running as an olympic sport and forgot the rest of the Olympic activities. However, the record shows gold every where but the numbers are meagre.
There is a challenge to change this history for the better, especially in the areas of skilled games, etc.
Regardless, the record shows that progress is slow and yet impressive.
Would future generations make a difference? Time will tell.
Highlights: Ethiopia has 31 Olympic medals and all have been won in distance events in athletics. The first was Abebe Bikila, who won gold running barefoot in the Rome marathon. Then four years later, in shoes, became the first dual Olympic marathon champion.
Then came two great names of distance running, Mamo Wolde and Miruts Yifter, who both won three Olympic medals across two Games.
In 1992 Derartu Tulu became the first black African women to win an Olympic medal when she won the 10,000m. Eight years later in Sydney, she again won the 10,000m to become the first woman to win two gold medals in Olympic distance events. She won a bronze medal in Athens in 2004.
In 1996 multiple world record holder, Haile Gebrselassie won an exciting 10,000m ahead of Kenya's Paul Tergat. The pair renewed their rivalry in Sydney and it proved to be an even more thrilling race. In a sprint for the line, Gebrselassie edged Tergat by just 0.09s, one of the closest ever finishes in a distance event.
Title: Whedefit Gesgeshi Woude Henate Ethiopia [March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia]
Composer: Words by Dereje Melaku Mengesha, music by Solomon Lulu Mitiku.
Founding Date: 1948
Date of IOC Recognition: 1954
NOC President: Dagmawit Girmay
NOC General Secretary: Dr Mulalem Bessie
First OG Appearance: 1956
Number of OG Appearance: 10
Summary: Medals per sport Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Athletics 14 5 12 31
Total 14 5 12 31
Medals per year
Year Gold Silver Bronze Total
1960 1 0 0 1
1964 1 0 0 1
1968 1 1 0 2
1972 0 0 2 2
1980 2 0 2 4
1992 1 0 2 3
1996 2 0 1 3
2000 4 1 3 8
2004 2 3 2 7
Total 14 5 12 31
Tirunesh Dibaba celebrates. (Photo credit: Xinhua)Photo Gallery>>
(BEIJING, August 22) -- Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia lapped her competition to win the gold medal in the Women's 5000m at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in a time of 15:41.40 minutes.
Dibaba fell short of her own world record time of 14:11.15 that she set in June this year.
Women's 10000m silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey once again took silver, in a time of 15:42.74, while Athens 2004 Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defer claimed bronze with a time of 15:44.12.
Reigning world champion Defar ran 14:12.88 earlier this year in response to Dibaba's world record of 14:11.55. Defar previously held the world record and is a double world indoor champion and former African champion.
On Friday, August 15, multiple world champion Dibaba ran the second fastest 10000m of all time at the Beijing 2008 Games.
Former world record holder Elvan Abeylegesse finished a close second to Dibaba in the 10000m and held the 5000m world record in 2004.
Dibaba the new distance queen
Len Johnson | August 22, 2008 - 11:07PM
Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie may not yet have quite settled the issue as to who is the current emperor of Ethiopian distance running; but the matter of who is the empress is settled.
All hail empress Tirunesh Dibaba. Last night she kept her cool in a race that was as up-and-down as a 5pm office elevator, before sprinting away to complete an historic Olympic 5000/10,000 metres double, the first-ever women's distance double.
Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey was again second with Dibaba's great rival and teammate, Meseret Defar third. The pair shared a victory lap under the Ethiopian flag. Despite the heat and humidity, it seemed to be quite cool in there.
The pair have been great, and reportedly, not friendly rivals.
At the world championships in Osaka last year, Dibaba won the 10,000, Defar the 5000. This year, Dibaba broke Defar's world record by five seconds in Oslo, running 14:11.15. Defar had a real crack at getting it back six weeks later in Stockholm, running a personal best of 14:12.88 but falling just short. The stage was set for a match race in Beijing.
Dibaba and Defar have tracked each other throughout their careers, the pendulum swinging either way. Defar, two years older, was a world junior champion in 2002, the same year as one Usain Bolt.
Dibaba, 23, came through to win the 5000 at the following year's world championships in Paris. Defar was run out in the heats, a rare failure in her career.
The Athens Olympic year saw Defar bounce back to win the 5000 in Athens, relegating Dibaba to the bronze medal. Afterwards, Dibaba suggested she had been taken by surprise, otherwise would surely have won.
In 2005, Dibaba added the 10,000 to her repertoire. After running a race in Sweden to qualify, she swept all before her in Helsinki.
It was cold, wet, windy and rainy, but she defied all that to win the distance double majestically, evoking inevitable comparisons with her male counterpart, Kenenisa Bekele. Defar finished second in the 5000.
The World Athletic Final was the stage for two titanic battles on one weekend in 2006. Defar beat Dibaba narrowly in the 3000 metres, Dibaba beat Defar even more narrowly _ one-hurdedth of a second _ in the 5000.
It took until the final kilometre to break an odd-kilometre slow, even-kilometre fast pattern. Predictably, it was Elvan Abeylegesse, the Ethiopian-born Turkish runner who set up such an epic race with Dibaba in the 10,000 on opening night, who did the work.
As the pace crept up in the fourth kilometre, Dibaba moved from the back of the pack to just off the lead. Defar, a feared kicker, stayed mid-group and almost paid the ultimate price when she stumbled and almost fell.
Fortunately, the kindness of others worked in her favour as the runner alongside her held her up. There was self-interest there, a fall in the pack would have inconvenienced several runners.
At 4000 metres, Dibaba moved to Abeylegesse' s shoulder. After another 100 metres, the Turk started to inject some real pace at last. The third last lap took 66.73 seconds _ sone of the opening laps had been closer to 90!
Dibaba responded immediately, as did Defar, at last getting on her main rivals heels. The end game was on. Abeylegessed only had one card and had played it. She sped through the second last lap in 64.42, but at the end of it, approaching the bell, Dibaba laid her cards down.
She was going, and if Defar wanted to win she had better shadow her. She could not. Instead the threat was coming now from Abeylegesse. Dibaba had two metres going down the back, a little more at 200.
She paid close attention to the big screen as she entered the straight 10 metres clear, but there was no response from Abeylegesse, no last sprint from Defar.
It was over in 15:41.40. Three times a world champion, once an Olympic bronze medallist, Dibaba had clinched her second Olympic gold medal a week after she won her first.
Dibaba wins 5,000m for Ethiopia
By Sports Network
The Sports Network
Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba won the gold medal in the women's 5,000 meters Friday night at the Beijing Olympics, making her a two-time champion at these Games.
Dibaba, the world record holder in the 5,000, ran the race in 15 minutes, 41.40 seconds to add to the collection that began with a gold in the 10,000 meters last Friday. She had won a bronze medal in the 5,000 four years ago in Athens.
Just as she did in the 10,000, Dibaba was able to hold off Elvan Abeylegesse for the gold once again. The Turkish runner finished with a second silver, posting a time of 15:42.74.
Meseret Defar, the reigning Olympic and world champion, also took the bronze for Ethiopia, crossing the line in 15:44.12.
Shalane Flanagan of the United States came in 10th place after earning a bronze medal in the 10,000 in Beijing.
Kara Goucher had the best finish for the U.S., finishing in ninth place, while Jennifer Rhines was 14th out of 15 runners.
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