Profile Haile Gebrselassie was born and grew up on a farm in Ethiopia and had to run 10 kilometres to and from school every day. This conditioned him well for the long distance events in athletics later and he developed into one of the best 10,000m runners of all time.
The happy, smiling and charismatic Gebrselassie was born into a family of 10 children on a farm in Ethiopia on 18 April, 1973. His village was some 2400m above sea level which, like his 20km run every school day, also helped in his development. By the age of 19, Gebrselassie had become 5000m and 10,000m champion at the World Junior Athletics Championships, and two years later he broke the 5000m world record for the first time. In the latter part of the 1990s, Gebrselassie traded the 5000m world record with two Kenyans bringing it down from his first record mark of 12:56.96m. to 12:39.36m. in the process. Similar improvements were also achieved in the 10,000m world record which the Ethiopian star broke three times, with the last standing for over six years.
In major championships, Gebrselassie also had a great deal of success, winning two OIympic gold medals in the 10,000m, and winning four successive gold medals in the World Championship 10,000m between 1993 and 1999. At the 2003 World Championships, Gebrselassie won silver in one of the most incredible long distance races ever. The second half of the race was run in a time faster than any World Championship 5000m up to that point, but he was just pipped on the line by fellow countryman Kenenisa Bekele.
Gebrselassie began running on the marathon circuit in 2002 and after winning in Amsterdam in 2005 and Berlin in 2006, he broke the world record in Berlin on 30 September 2007, completing the race in 2:04:26.