By Sabrina Yohannes, Published: August 6, 2012
Tiki Gelana remembers watching the Olympics on television and being inspired by her Ethiopian countrywomen, years before she set an Olympic marathon record of 2:23:07 in London.
“I was really moved by the 10,000-meter race in Sydney where Derartu Tulu and Gete Wami ran,” she says. Like the two-time Olympic champion Tulu, Gelana hails from the vicinity of Bekoji in the Arsi area south of Addis Ababa, and it was in a hotel in the town that she joined others watching the 2000 Olympics. “I couldn’t even tell Derartu and Gete apart, and when they showed one of them on the screen, I kept asking, ‘OK, which one is she?’” adds Gelana. But before Tulu and Wami were done, with gold and silver medals in hand, Gelana knew running was what she wanted to do.