But for me, and probably for many of my contemporaries who never actually watched him race, he was just a name. Tags: Abebe Bikila, Eamonn Coghlan, Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Lasse Viren, Mamo Wolde, Miruts Yifter, Moscow Olympics, Picture: Mark Shearman, Eilish McColgan says her pacemaking experience in London has given her a big confidence boost ahead of her move up to the marathon in the next couple of years. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/12/30/sports/sports-people-finn-admits-tanking.html. (Kenya would boycott in 1976 and 1980, and Ethiopia would join the Russian and Eastern Bloc boycott of the 1984 Games. Bikila was the forerunner with his Olympic marathon titles at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics but Yifter went on to play a prominent part in the athletics history of the nation with his amazing double in Moscow. Watching the video one can see that as the race develops, Viren is repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to take the lead and control pace, a strategy that had served him so well in Munich and Montreal. I listened to the movements of my opponents until five laps remained and then decided on my course of action. Yifter came back to win the 10K in that same meet. Now we take Ethiopian distance prowess for granted.

Marsh relayed a message from Bill Bowerman, who wanted to know what it would take to bring Craig back into the Nike fold. One of Yifter’s sons, Biniam, said that his father had been suffering from respiratory problems.
The defending bronze medalist was denied a chance to run in Montreal because Ethiopia, along with many African nations, boycotted the 1976 Olympic Games. What he needs is Ethiopian determination, the same will power that has kept the nation out of the reach of colonialists more than seventy years ago. At Coamo, Puerto Rico on 6 February 1977, Yifter ran a World Best for the half-marathon of 1:02:57.

Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. In more recent years he had been a team coach at major events but moved to Canada, where he spent his last days. Yifter also found himself boxed behind Kedir, but his selfless team-mate glanced behind in the back straight to check if Yifter was ready to sprint and then moved aside to let him through. "I strongly believe that Kenenisa [Bekele] will win both races in Athens," he says. “He slowed down and called my bluff,” said Craig, who took over again at 7K so no one else could rejoin the battle. Twenty four years have elapsed since Ethiopian Miruts Yifter won an historic 5000 and 10,000m double at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but the legend recalls everything as if it happened only yesterday. The distance double was complete and in some style too.

That allowed Craig to rest at the hotel for what he viewed as the race of his life up to that point. "I was determined to run the four best races of my life (two semi-finals and two finals)," he says. Miruts Yifter’s gold medals were celebrated in Ethiopia.

In 1980, with the world looking on, Yifter finally delivered the ultimate tactical blow that saw off his challengers in Moscow. Change ).

"They greeted me with tears of joy in their eyes," he says. Then, after Moscow, he attempted to train for the marathon at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 but the plan did not come off. Rest in peace, legend! Undeterred, Yifter continued training on his own even after the team was disbanded by the sports commission.

", Yifter on Viren – “he is a great athlete and I still admire him”. @EilishMccolgan @scotathletics @LondonMarathon, [email protected]_uk was the first company to use a stand entirely constructed out of recyclable materials at the @nationalrunshow. In his own right, Yifter goes down in the history books as one of the legends of distance running, but the 64-year old now believes that his unique achievement will not last August. Born in Adigrat, in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, Yifter spent early parts of his youth working in different factories and as a carriage driver.

Yifter's determination knew no bounds.

I didn’t see  Steve Ovett and Seb Coe win golds in the 1500 and 800, respectively, each of the two legends winning the race he was expected to lose and losing the race he was expected to win. His tactics gave him the nickname "Yifter the Shifter" after he modified the pace of the race with 300m remaining - a trademark that transformed distance running. ( Log Out /  His last lap had required a mere 54.3 seconds compared to Craig’s 61.1. The other Finn (Kaarlo Maaninka) looked like he was hurting the most but he pulled out a 2nd place. "But then, they arrived late and by the time they took me to the race marshals, the race had already begun. Two days after winning the World Cup 10K, Yifter won the 5K in 13:35.9, finishing with a 53.5 last lap. Add your email to the Canadian Running newsletter mailing list: Get the digital edition of Running for your chosen platform: This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. The tension start building at the bell, but before they could reassert themselves, I make my move. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. She could appreciate some of what I was doing, but my relationship with her was often a distraction to my demanding training and racing.”, After a two-mile warmup and six 100-meter sprints, Craig stretched and went to the check-in room he remembered from the 1976 Olympics. Yifter was a tiny, balding figure, but appearances can be deceptive and he showed on the grandest stage of all that he possessed one of the most fearsome kick finishes in history. The eight were the US, Europe, East Germany, the Soviet Union, the Americas, Africa, Oceania and Asia. When Tom Jordan of Track & Field News saw the situation, he invited Cindy to accompany him to a shopping mall. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Yifter had first competed in the Olympics in 1972, winning the bronze medal in the 10,000m behind Viren’s gold. He has been consistent and going strong for the last two years and I believe that there is no one who can seriously stop him.”, ”He has faith in his own hands. Most notably, two time Olympic champion Haile Gebreselassie credits Miruts as having inspired him to follow in his footsteps and take up long distance running.. At his hospital bed in Toronto a couple of weeks ago now, Miruts asked me about the city of Montreal. Four years later in Moscow, Yifter made up for his disappointments by winning gold in both the 10,000 and 5000 m.[4] In the final of the 10,000 m he sprinted into the lead 300 m from the finish and won by ten metres. The US head coach was Sam Bell and Wieneke was among the assistants. A similar mystery also surrounded his age, with his birthday reported to be anywhere from 1938 to 1944. ", Early in the week, Yifter visited the team's training base at the Ararat Hotel in the outskirts of Addis Ababa where he met Bekele and other members of the team. Craig and Cindy then drove to Montreal for the World Cup II where he’d battle Ethiopian star Miruts Yifter for the second time. © 2020 Athletics Weekly. “I feel a lot more experienced, though just three years older,” he later wrote. For the next twenty days at least, Yifter, like all other Ethiopians around the world, will be on the look out for Ethiopian performances in Athens and hopefully merrymaking after any victory.