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Haile Gebrselassie

Haile Gebrselassie is  born 18 April, 1973. He is an Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete. Gebrselassie was born as one of ten children in AsellaArsi Province, Ethiopia. To his friends he is known by his nick name “Geb”. His elder brother, Tekeye, is an international marathon runner and his younger brother, Belay, is also a promising runner.

As a child Gebrselassie used to run ten kilometres to and back from school every day. This may have led to his distinctive running posture, with his left arm crooked as if still holding his school books.

He won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 metres and four World Championship titles. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon. In September 2008, at the age of 35, he won the Berlin Marathon with a world record time of 2:03:59, breaking his own world record by 27 seconds. The record stood for three years.  At the Berlin men’s marathon in September 2011 the Kenyan Patrick Makau shaved 21 seconds off the record set by Haile Gebrselassie on the same course. Patrick Makau finished in a time of two hours, three minutes and 38 seconds.

Gebrselassie  is also a businessman. Gebrselassie is the sole importer of Hyundai cars into Ethiopia,  runs a gym in Addis Ababa the city, and has opened a new hotel near Lake Hawassa.

He starred in the movie Endurance, which was based on his life and career.

Book: The Greatest: The Haile Gebrselassie Story  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greatest-Haile-Gebrselassie-Story/dp/1891369482

 

2008, Berlin, Germany, the 35th IAAF Marathon. Haile Gebrselassie won for the third straight time, breaking the world record yet again at 2:03:59. 

 

Quotes by Haile Gebrselassie

  • “I have to change a lot of things before I become a good marathon runner.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “I used to run to school, 10k every day. And this at altitude, perfect preparation, really.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “I will always listen to my coaches. But first I listen to my body. If what they tell me suits my body, great. If my body doesn't feel good with what they say, then always my body comes first.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “I'm lucky. The best possible place in the world for training is Addis Ababa, so I am home all the time except when I am racing. I like to be there, near my family, my kids, also the real estate business I run with my wife.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “In the rainy season, sometimes to get to the first lesson we had to run really quick, because we had to cross the river to school and we'd have to go up and down the bank to find a place to cross because there is no bridge.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “Since I achieved something, running has exploded in my country. For me sometimes it is difficult even to know who the athletes are who are competing at the highest level. There are thousands.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “That is not enough. Sport has been great for me, a great learning place that if you want to achieve you can, even if you are from the poorest part of Africa.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “This hand is not very active always, because it was in this hand that I carried my books. My carrying hand was always my strongest. Now I think my other hand has developed more muscles from signing all those autographs.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “If it happens, wonderful. If not, what can I do?. This is not my first competition. It's not my last competition. I will try for it next time. We'll see.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “When you talk about world record times, you have to understand that everything must be perfect ? the weather, the course, the temperature. It is not always enough to be in good shape.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “I love the music. It gives you energy.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie
  • “I keep on going because of the passion of the track. It is addictive. It's not for money because I have enough and I am making even more with my investments and businesses. It's simply the thrill of racing.”
    by Haile Gebrselassie

  

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