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Ethiopia at the Olympics

Ethiopia's representation and participation to the Olympic Games are managed by the Ethiopian Olympic Committee which was established in 1948 but was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee until 1954.

In 1956, Ethiopia participated for the first time in the Summer Games. That year, they were not able to get a single Olympic medal. Their highest ranking athlete was cyclist Zehaye Bahta who managed a 9th place finish. But the very next Olympics, they were able to win their very first Olympic medal and a gold one at that. Abebe Bikila, who was actually a last minute replacement, delivered one of the most stunning wins in Olympic history when he did not just win the Olympic marathon, but he did so barefooted becoming the first-ever East African Olympic gold medalist.

Four years later, he won again in the same event at Tokyo, Japan in October 21, 1964. Bikila not only made history, he also paved the way for Ethiopia in Olympic excellence. Ethiopian athletes have consistently takenhome Olympic medals in every Summer Games they participated in since 1960. Since their debut in 1956, Ethiopia has only missed three Summer Games (1976, 1984 and 1988).

Ethiopia is also one of a few African countries that have participated in the Winter Olympics. They started doing so in 2006 with a single cross-country skier Robel Teklemariam for the men's 15 km classical. He then came back in 2010 for the 15 kilometer freestyle. They are, at least for now, unable to win an Olympic medal from the Winter Games.


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