His nearly permanent smile says it all. Haile Gebrselassie, seems to be a man happy with his life, content with this athletic achievements, and why shouldn’t he be? The running CV of ‘The Emperor’ is unsurpassed in the history of distance running.
On twenty seven occasions Gebrselassie has bettered the previous fastest time in history. In 1994 he ran his first world record in Hengelo on the 5000m. The taste of a world record was sweet and Gebrselassie has attacked many world records after that first one. But Gebrselassie has never just been driven by the clock, his victories have marked him out as a supreme racer.
Two-times Olympic Champion (1996, 2000) and four-time World Champion. Gebrselassie’s series of epic contests, in particular with Kenyan Paul Tergat, have become the stuff of legend. Possessed with an awesome sprint finish he retained his Olympic crown in 2000 in a neck and neck duel with Tergat which came down to the last 10 meters. Gebrselassie actually beat his arch-rival by 0.09 seconds. This is still one of his most famous victories in his career.
In 2001, he switched to road running by securing the World Half Marathon title. The following year he made his serious debut at the marathon with an impressive third place finish in London in a national record of 2.06.35 – though he was disappointed not to have won. In the autumn of 2005 he ran his second marathon in Amsterdam, by winning is a new national record of 2.06.20.
A disappointed run by his high standards followed in London in the spring of 2006, but in September a 2.05.56 victory in Berlin confirmed once more Gebrselassie’s continuing stature as the world’s greatest distance runner.
His Berlin triumph was the fastest time in the world in 2006, but more significantly made him the fifth fastest marathon runner of all-time. On December 3, he confirmed his superiority at the marathon distance winning the Fukuoka marathon in 2.06.55.
In 2007 his dream comes true in a thrilling race in Berlin where he runs the fastest marathon ever 2.04.26. Haile is ambitious and feels he can go even faster. In 2008 he again achieves to run a world record in Berlin of 2.03.59.
Haile Gebrselassie is more than an athlete, he is a businessman as well and invested the money that he earned with running in his home country. He now employees over 1600 people in several business projects and has his own Haile resort in the beautiful Hawassa area.
Athletics photographer Jiro Mochizuki and friend of Haile Gebrselassie followed him from his junior years till his retirement and published a book with photos of his life. If you are interested in purchasing this great book, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.