Olympics Photo of the Day

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kipchoge KEINO

Middle Distance Master

Kip Keino, an uncoached Nandi tribesman, was already 28 years old when he made his second Olympic appearance at the 1968 Mexico City Games. Suffering from violent stomach pains caused by a gall bladder infection, Keino entered the 10,000m. He was running with the leaders when, with two laps to go, he doubled up with pain and fell onto the infield. He jumped back up and finished the race, but he was disqualified for leaving the track. Four days later, he earned a silver medal in the 5,000m, trailing Mohamed Gammoudi of Tunisia by barely a metre. In the 1,500m, Keino tried to neutralize the finishing kick of the favourite, Jim Ryun, by building up a huge lead. His tactic worked and he won by 20m, the largest margin of victory in the history of the event. In 1972, Keino entered the steeplechase even though he had little experience in the event. Still, he was able to outkick teammate Ben Jipcho and win another gold medal. Six days after this victory, he added a silver medal in the 1,500m. Keino and his wife, Phyllis, eventually established a childrens' home and school for orphaned and abandoned children.