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Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 23:23 GMT 00:23 UK
Olympic countdown: 73 days
A running legend was born in 1973

Haile Gebrselassie (left) beats Paul Tergat in Sydney
Gebrselassie (left) claimed a thrilling win over Tergat in Sydney
Born 18 April, 1973, Haile Gebrselassie is a legend who will bid for a record third 10000m gold medal this year.

The Ethiopian has won two huge tussles with Paul Tergat of Kenya in the last two Olympic finals.

Neck-and-neck in the last lap in Sydney, Tergat went ahead in the final straight only for Gebrselassie to pass him in the final few strides.

But Gebrselassie has lost two world championship finals since then and victory in Athens could be beyond him.

Defeat in the 2003 worlds in Paris came at the hands of Kenenisa Bekele, another Ethiopian, who has been dubbed 'the new Gebrselassie'.

And there will be a host of Kenyan's wanting to take the Ethiopian's crown.

Indeed Gebrselassie has had some interesting history against Kenyan athletes.

At the 1992 junior world championships, Gebrselassie stalked Josephat Machuka for 24-and-a-half laps, happy to stay just behind.

And when he sprinted by Machuka with 200m to go, the Kenyan was so angered that he hit him on the head as he went by and was disqualified.

At the 1993 world championships Gebrselassie was using the same tactics when a clash of feet with leader Moses Tanui forced the Kenyan to kick of one shoe and run the last lap with only the other.

When he crossed the line behind Gebrselassie, Tanui pulled off the other shoe and shoved it into the Ethiopian's face.

Gebrselassie and Tergat's first Olympic clash in Atlanta was not quite as explosive but similar in tactics.

The duo pulled away from the rest of the field after 8000m and Gebrselassie, having tracked Tergat to the final lap, pulled ahead to win by six metres in a new Olympic record of 27 minutes, 7.34 seconds.





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SEE ALSO
Olympic countdown: 76 days
27 May 04  |  Olympics 2004
Olympic countdown: 75 days
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