2012 London Olympics Marathon: End of Emperor’s Reign

Should he be named to the Ethiopian team, Haile Gebrselassie would be making what would be the fifth, and likely last, Olympic appearance of his storied career. Having already earned two gold medals on the track – in the 10,000m in Atlanta and Sydney – the one thing Geb wants more than anything else is a gold medal in the marathon, an achievement which would not only solidify his claim as the greatest distance runner in history but one which would elevate him to and immortal status in the sport unseen since Abebe Bikila, the first Ethiopian and East African runner to win an Olympic title.

Obstacles stand in his way, not the least of which are his age, and an incredible crop of young, talented marathoners from Kenya and his native Ethiopia. In fact, with names such as Gebre Gebremariam, Tsegaye Kebede, Markos Geneti, Bekana Daba, Feyisa Lelisa, Bazu Worku, Getu Feleke and Tadesse Tola all capable of running sub-2:07 in the marathon, Geb’s selection to the team isn’t even definite, although leaving him off the squad might trigger a riot in Addis Ababa. More

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