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The Greatest: The Haile Gebrselassie Story Paperback – September 1, 2004
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"Be in no doubt Haile is the greatest distance runner the world has ever seen." -- Dave Bedford, former 10,000m world record holder, and currently race director for the London Marathon
"Haile Gebrselassie has won many great victories. He is a great ambassador for his people." -- Nelson Mandela
"Haile Gebrselassie is the best distance runner I have seen in the last quarter-century, the most electrifying personality." -- Amby Burfoot, Executive Editor, Runner's World magazine
"Haile is an elegant champion and a fine example of sportsmanship." -- Lasse Viren, Olympic double-gold medalist
About the Author
Originally from New York, Jim Denison currently lives and works in England. He is the editor of The Coach, a bi-monthly magazine for track and field coaches, and his features on running appear regularly in Athletics Weekly. He is the author of BANNISTER AND BEYOND: The Mystique of the Four-Minute Mile. Denison is also a lecturer in sports sociology at the University of Bath.
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Competetive sport is by its definition where an athlete seeks to become and stay the best, but not everyone succeeds, some do though and their merit is recognized by the world. In this vicious field the harder you train, the more chance there is that at least you will have a shot at a major competition. More so in Ethiopia where the standard of living is very low and runners are even more obsessed with the idea of being the best of the best. They have to go through immense sacrifices in order to strengthen themselves for competitions.
Among them we see an Ethiopean man H-G. A simple yet very dedicated athlete whose skill can be paired only with his heart. However as many others: no gold medal - no happiness, and even someone with such divine ability to run has to yield the way to the others who are younger and faster, with more stamina.
So what makes H-G "The Greatest"? In authors opinion it is his humbleness and dedication to his country and its people who he dearly loves despite the fact that they may only love him when he is on top. However, we gotta be clear - H-G. is, or was "the greatest" because seeing this guy run was an unparalleld display of ability coupled with almost childish purity of expression of that ability, openness in accepting a well deserved victory and stablity in the post-victorious period. THAT is what made H-G "the greatest", but many may as well disagree..In short, a good book to read.
This book is a 'must read' for any recreational or competitive runner who has the remotest interest in long distance track running. It details the regimen of the top Ethiopian distance runners in what is largely an under resourced infrastructure.
I am a recreational runner who has never been to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa who's central Meskil Square contains a public 'running track' used by Ethiopa's best Athletes. After reading this book I have resolved to visit Ethiopa in the very near future.