St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Star Ethiopian runner out to conquer Chicago

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


CHICAGO -- Ethiopia is the second-poorest country in the world, yet one so rich in distance running talent that it tied for second behind the United States in the track and field gold-medal count at the 2000 Olympics.

The Ethiopians won four golds and were third in total medals (eight), all in races of 5,000 meters or longer. Only the U.S. and Russia won more medals, and Ethiopia was without its marathon record-holder, Tesfaye Jifar.

The stomach virus that slowed Jifar, 24, from November through April, meant Ethiopia's Olympic selectors did not think he would be fit enough to run well in the Oct. 1 Olympic marathon.

"He told me, "If I would have run there, I would have won,' " said Terefe Jifar, one of the runner's seven brothers, who works for a Boston law firm. "(Tesfaye) said it was okay, that he will do it the next time."

Just how well Tesfaye Jifar, who did not become a marathoner until 1998 and has run only two, has recovered from his illness will be evident in today's Chicago Marathon -- if he gets over travel fatigue by then.

Jifar, who lost his right eye at 10 when he was gored by an ox on the family farm, arrived Friday afternoon after a daylong trip from Ethiopia. The Chicago Marathon will be his second race of the year.

Among Ethiopia's Olympic medals were Gezahgne Abera's gold and Tesfaye Tola's bronze in the men's marathon. A year ago at Amsterdam, where he set the national record of 2 hours 6 minutes 49 seconds, Jifar beat Tola by eight seconds.

Their country's distance-running tradition began in 1960, when Abebe Bikila won his first of two straight Olympic marathon gold medals.

The glory slowly faded during the 17-year period from 1974 through 1991 when Ethiopia was ruled by Marxists. It revived when Derartu Tulu won the women's 10,000 meters at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Tulu won the race again this year in Sydney.

"Tulu created new opportunities for Ethiopian women, and that steamrolls," said South Africa's Elana Meyer, second to Tulu in 1992, when she was the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold.

In Sydney, Ethiopia's Gete Wami (silver in the women's 10,000, bronze in the 5,000) joined sprinter-jumper Marion Jones of the United States and race walker Robert Korzeniowski of Poland as the only athletes to win medals in more than one individual track event.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Hubert Mizell

  • Couples is content, but fire still burns
  • Gary Shelton

  • Bombers aging, but know how to win
  • World Series

  • Yanks last longer
  • Paths cross again
  • Ridin' (yawn) rails to Subway Series
  • What they're saying
  • Hampton says he's rested, ready
  • Slices of the big apple
  • Red Sox fan Mara is bummed
  • World Series glance
  • Cards, M's rue missed chances
  • Lightning

  • Lightning falls again, only harder
  • College football

  • UM, Moss trample Temple
  • Seminoles put foot down
  • Bulls extinguish Flames
  • College football this week on TV
  • College football briefs
  • FSU sideliners
  • Minor keeps up run of success vs. Cavs
  • Career day comes at a price
  • Sipp's starts streak in jeopardy
  • USF sideliners
  • Two Bulls receivers catch on in a hurry
  • Bucs

  • Bucs must remember their essence
  • NBA briefs
  • Speaking of memories
  • Nothing but child's play for Quezie
  • Bucs chat
  • The sun is shining on Wunsch
  • NFL briefs
  • Best and worst: game 7
  • NFL games
  • NFL briefs
  • Golf

  • Pressure building at Innisbrook
  • Cook: Keep hot new drivers out of the game
  • How suite it is for some fans
  • Sports Etc.

  • NHL briefs
  • Star Ethiopian runner out to conquer Chicago
  • Mizell's mailbag
  • Husband-and-wife team wins regatta
  • U.S. wins big at Paralympics
  • Boxing briefs
  • Another triumph for the big spenders
  • Slap shots
  • Roy at top of his game, but will Avs keep him?
  • Gordon: Leader has it together
  • Auto racing briefs
  • Structure is the keyto uncovering fish
  • Captain's corner
  • New training method gives Wildcats big lift
  • Victories don't come as easy now
  • Carr makes history with victory
  • Spartans have few problems in dominating Florida Tech
  • Buc wins Rotary diving title
  • Coaches, players praise new post-season format
  • Northeast crushes competition
  • Warhawk boys pull off upset
  • Countryside wakes up, cruises to PCAC title


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts