Why Famous: Bikila entered into the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome with a new pair of poorly fitted running shoes. Forgoing them due to the blisters they incurred, Bikila ran the marathon barefoot, breaking the world record with a time of 2 hours 15 minutes 16.2 seconds.
Bikila won his second medal 4 years later-wearing shoes- at the Tokyo Olympics in 2 hours 12 minutes 11.2 seconds.
In 1969 Bikila was paralysed in a car accident, and died 4 years later of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Bikila is regarded as a national hero in Ethiopia, as Africa's first world record breaking athlete in any sport and the first sub-Saharan African Olympic gold medallist.
- 1960-09-10 Abebe Bikila runs Olympic/World record marathon (2:15:16.2)
- 1964-10-21 Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia runs a world record 2:12:11.2 to beat Briton Basil Heatley by more than 4 minutes and win the men's marathon at the Tokyo Olympics; first athlete to win Olympic marathon twice
- 1969-03-20 Ethiopian athlete Abebe Bikila is paralysed in an auto-accident near Addis Ababa