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
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
”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
Gebrselassie said the marathon was still an iconic event for the
Olympics and, ”If we talk about Olympics, we have to talk about
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