Great Gebrselassie forced to rethink farewell

Haile Gebrselassie is trying to figure out how to leave the

sport he once dominated.

The 39-year-old long-distance great from Ethiopia hoped for a

farewell race and one last shot at an Olympic gold medal in the

London Games marathon, but he didn’t make his country’s team.

The former world-record holder says he is unlikely to run the

marathon at next year’s world championships. He says he’ll have to

rethink how and when he bows out.

”If possible, this (the Olympics) was the plan,” he said

Friday. ”The next world championships, I don’t think so. Maybe

something else.”

Gebrselassie broke his own marathon world record in 2008 at 35

and won two Olympic golds and four world titles in the 10,000

meters. He also set over 20 world records and countless Ethiopian

records, and ran successfully in distances ranging from 1,500

meters to the 26.2-mile marathon.

Gebrselassie also failed to qualify for the 10,000 in London,

but he joked with reporters that he was still hoping to be a late

addition to the marathon field.

He’ll watch the race Sunday, he said, but was disappointed the

runners won’t finish in the Olympic Stadium. Organizers decided the

marathon will end on the Mall in central London and near Buckingham

Palace.

”For me, if it’s possible to finish in the stadium, imagine,”

he said. ”This is the best crowd I’ve ever seen in my life in

athletics. If the marathon finishes in the stadium, ask the

people.”

Gebrselassie said the marathon was still an iconic event for the

Olympics and, ”If we talk about Olympics, we have to talk about

marathon.”

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