How Bikila won an Olympic Marathon barefoot! | Strangest Moments

How Bikila won an Olympic Marathon barefoot! | Strangest Moments

Rome, once a powerful empire
spanning from the west of Europe
to Syria and Palestine, was now just a single city
rich in food, music and art. Its culture and history
made it the perfect host for the 1960 Olympic Games. It was even more perfect
for the marathon. For one man, the idyllic
setting offered the perfect backdrop to put his country
on the Olympic Games map. That man was Abebe Bikila
of Ethiopia. It was a strange path
to Rome for Bikila. He had grown up working as
a shepherd, before becoming a private bodyguard for the
emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. The idea of sports never really
crossed his mind until he was 24 years old, when he saw the 1956
Melbourne Games. It was a defining moment
for Bikila. He wanted to be involved. It soon became clear
that he had a rare talent for long-distance running after he was spotted by Onni
Niskanen, the Swedish coach in charge of Ethiopia’s
long-distance runners. Prior to the Rome Olympics, Bikila wasn’t initially
chosen for the team. He was a last-minute
replacement after his fellow countryman Wami Biratu broke his ankle
playing football. But there was a problem, his only pair of running
shoes had worn out. He had a shoe sponsor, so he went to work
finding a new pair. Unfortunately,
none were comfortable enough. He made the audacious decision
to run the race barefoot. Bikila was off to Rome, and the shoes were staying
in Addis Ababa. The 1960 marathon was scheduled
to get underway at 5:30pm. The late start was due
to the weather. If you’ve ever been in Rome
during August, you’ll know that the intense
afternoon heat would have had the runners dropping
like flies. Early on, a pack of four
runners was setting the pace. Alongside Bikila was Rhadi Ben
Abdesselam of Morocco, one of Bikila’s main rivals. At the 32-kilometre mark, the
sun was beginning to disappear as the athletes took
to the Appian Way. The course was illuminated
by flaming torches, so the crowd could see Bikila’s
bare feet dash past them. The cobblestones weren’t a
problem for his feet. He was in the zone. Upon re-entering the city,
Bikila left Rhadi in his dust as he picked up the pace
with 500 metres to go. He crossed over the line under
the Arch of Constantine in two hours, 15 minutes
and 16 seconds, shattering Emil Zatopek’s
Olympic Games record. Dancing a jig of joy under the
arch, the barefoot Ethiopian finished 25 seconds ahead
of second-place Rhadi. When asked why he ran barefoot,
he said, “I want the world to know
that my country Ethiopia always won with determination
and heroism.” He became the first
black African to win an Olympic gold medal. It wouldn’t be his last
one either. Four years later
he won gold in Tokyo… wearing shoes.

100 Replies to “How Bikila won an Olympic Marathon barefoot! | Strangest Moments”

  1. Onni Niskanen is a Finnish name and he was born in Helsinki the capital of Finland, of course later he moved to Sweden but even then he was not considered swedish but swedish-finnish…

  2. Why you being racist: first black African? There are many black African? And no I’m not being racist because it doesn’t count when your from that country or skin colour. STUPID

  3. what's with the reenactments in these videos?? get people who actually look like the athletes, it seems like when the athlete is black ur just using legit any black people you can find.. like with the terrible fake afro wigs in another video.. feels pretty racist

  4. Es triste que la historia de esfuerzo de un atleta sea representada de forma tan patética, es un documental o un capitulo de derbez

  5. I run cross country I am in 7th grade and I it’s only 100 girls run and I got 1st before and my least place was 9th and I wasn’t run for living I love it forever and track is starting trmoww so wish me luck

  6. cant believe how many facts are incorrect. How could anyone put this up and calls it a documentary. Shame!! Gash Abebe RIP.

  7. To this day there is no one who could make push ups after running 42 km! Abebe Bikila is an amazing person with too much energy!

  8. "I want the world to know that my country Ethiopia always won with determination and heroism."
    Abebe Bikila
    RIP my Hero

  9. "I want to world to know that my country Ethiopia has always won with determination and heroism" ? this phase hit me hard, anythings in this world can be achieved if you are determine

  10. Black African??? Is this the real Olympic channel? full of wrong information except Abebe Bikila's heroics.

  11. To think that he dominated in Italy, the same country that attempted to dominate Ethiopia a few decades earlier

  12. Back before KENYANS knew about the marathon!!!! Now it's all Calcitran tribesman runners from Kenya. Ethiopia can't win most of the time against the kenyans.

  13. Growing up in Ethiopia, I saw some runners in the early morning (around 6 am) endurance running, and a few tended to do it without any shoes. It's not a big deal for us

  14. How did he achieve this???? The only reason I believe this story is because it is not coming from CNN or BBC, otherwise A Bikila was not a human.

  15. Mr. Bikila- what a man on the planet! He aptly taught the world that determination is key to success. Two back to back Olympic gold medals, respective of the fact he tried to run a marathon after the age of 24. Just incredible, salute to him.

  16. I bet there were people on the road laughing at him for being barefooted in an Olympic match. I want to see their reactions after finding out that he's the champion.

  17. This is an amazing story and worthy of a ninety minute documentary. I find it hilarious that he ran barefoot simply because he found all shoes offered to him uncomfortable. I can't help but wonder if it was simply down to his secret sponsorship deal with Puma which persuaded him into shoes at the next Olympics?

  18. Abebe was good any way if he run aginste keno or any Kenyans they will dust him he didn't have 20 cent. Training. Like the new guyeseven moe phora woud dust him too. I give him credit when he run 100 years ago. No contender like these days thank you

  19. Ran barefoot. Won the Gold. Broke a record. First black African to win a Gold…….and still had a lot to spare to do a dance after finishing the race.
    How can you not love this guy. ?

  20. ??‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️??‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♀️?‍♂️?‍♀️?‍♂️?‍♀️?‍♀️?‍♂️?‍♀️?‍♂️?☺?☺

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