Ethiopia’s Olympics gold medalist athlete dies

Miruts Yifter is a former Ethiopian athlete – winner of two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow, Soviet Union, in present-day Russia, dies today.  

He died today at the age of 73, according to the statement from Ethiopian Government Communications Affairs Office. He is reported suffering from lung complications for a long time, which finally led to his death.

Born in Adigrat, in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, Yifter spent early parts of his youth working in different factories and as a carriage driver. His talent as a long-distance runner was noticed when he joined the Ethiopian Air Force.

A few weeks ago his death was reported by mistake on one of the state media. In Moscow, Yifter made up for his disappointments. In the final of the 10,000 m he sprinted into the lead 300 m from the finish and won by ten metres.

Five days later, in the 5000 m final, Yifter was boxed in during the last lap. But with 300 m to go, his Ethiopian teammate, Mohamed Kedir, stepped aside and Yifter again sprinted to victory. Due to his abrupt change in speed when executing his kick to the finish, Yifter acquired the nickname “Yifter the Shifter.”

Miruts was called to the Ethiopian national team for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, but he made his Olympic debut four years later in Munich Olympics where he won a bronze medal in 10,000 metres. However, he arrived too late for the 5000 metres final, according to his biography on Wikipedia.