the Life of Marathon Champion Abebe Bikila
Abebe Bikila was the first black African to win an Olympic gold medal, winning the marathon in 1960 and again in 1964 - the first person to win the most gruelling of all human contests twice. Born into bitter poverty in rural Ethiopia in 1932, at sixteen Bikila joined the Imperial Guard. He came to the notice of the Swedish athletics coach Onni Niskanen, whom Emperor Selassie had engaged to try and raise his country's profile through sport. Bikila became the focus of these ambitions - and an unwitting figurehead for black African nationalism.
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