Miruts Yifter, Ethiopian running legend, dies at 72

Ethiopia’s Miruts Yifter (191) leads the field during the 10,000 Meter Race at the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980.
Ethiopia’s Miruts Yifter (191) leads the field during the 10,000-meter race at the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980. (Associated Press)

Associated Press

Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend who inspired world-class athletes like Haile Gebrselassie, has died in Canada at age 72, his family and Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials said Friday.

The athlete known by the nickname “Yifter the Shifter” won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics at age 40 and a bronze at the 1972 Munich Games.

“Miruts has been everything to me and my athletics career,” said an emotional Haile, the double Olympic 10,000-meter champion. “When I started running, I just wanted to be like him. He is the reason for who I’m now and for what I have achieved.”

Miruts’ son, Biniam Miruts, said his father had been suffering from respiratory problems.

Miruts Yifter was the subject of much criticism during Ethiopia’s former military regime, especially for not winning gold at the Munich Games, and he was thrown into jail upon his return home. He was soon released but left Ethiopia in 2000 for Canada.

Family members said he was never accorded the dignity and privileges he deserved in Ethiopia, and they called on all Ethiopians to give him a heroic welcome when his body arrives for burial in Addis Ababa next week.

Miruts has seven children, most of whom live outside Ethiopia.

Haile recalled listening to the radio as a little boy during Mirut’s victory in Moscow. “I used to doubt that he was a human being after all for achieving what he achieved back then,” he said Friday. “For me, he is the best-ever athlete Ethiopia ever had, after the great Abebe Bikila.”

Share Button
Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any losses or damages that may have caused by using our services. EMF declines all responsibility for the contents of the materials stored by users. Each and every user is solely responsible for the posts.
Posted by on December 24, 2016. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to Miruts Yifter, Ethiopian running legend, dies at 72

  1. The Ethiopian ዘረ-ያዕቖብ

    December 24, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    ሓላፋይ እዩ,ኹሉ ሓላፋይ እዩ, ዘይሓልፍ ታሪኽ ጥራሕ እንድ’ዩ ግዲ!

    መንግስተ ሰማያት የዋርስ’ከስ ብዓል ታሪኽ ወዲ ዓዲ!

    ፈተውትናን “ፀላእትናን” ንጅግንነትካን ሕሊናዊ ተኣማንነትካን ንኽምስክሩስ ኾይኑ ናይ ግዲ!

    ካብዙይ ዝበለፀስ እንታይ’ዶሎ እዩ ኣብዛ ምድርና ፍጥረታ ተገላባጢት ብዘይ ዓንዲ!

    ኩልናስ እንተኾንና ብሕጊ ተፈጥሮ ክንክተለካ’ንዶ ግዲ!

    መንግስተ ሰማያት በሊ ተሓጎሲ መፃእካለይ’ዶ ጅግና ኢልኪ ሳዕሲዒ!

    ደቂ ምድሪ ስድራ ቤት ግና ሓዘንኩም ኣይምረር ንኽትፀናንዑ እዩ’ምበር ናይ ግዲ!