Abebe Bikila (1932 to 1973) from Ethipia won the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, somewhat accidentally.

He was added to the Ethiopian Olympic team at the last minute, as the plane was about to leave, as a replacement for a teammate who was seriously ill.

Adidas, the shoe sponsor at that time, had few shoes left and Bikila could not get a shoe that fit comfortably so he ended up not wearing any shoes. Luckily he trained for the race running barefooted too.

Bikila was warned by his coach about his main rivals, one of whom was Rhadi Ben Abdesselam from Morocco, who was supposed to be wearing the bib number 26. However, for some unknown reasons, Rhadi was not wearing bib number 26, instead he was wearing bib number 185.

During the race, Bikila constantly searched for bib number 26 as he ran pass many runners. By about the 20km mark, Bikila and Rhadi was running side by side, with Bikila still looking out for number 26, not knowing that Rhadi is actually the person he is looking for.

Bikila and Rhadi stayed together until the last 500m, when Bikila sprinted to the finish line and he finished first, 25 seconds ahead fof Rhadi.

Bikila became the first Sub-Saharan African to win an Olympic Gold medal.



Source : Wikipeida