Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best in the world, but injuries have held the world-record-holder back in recent years.
Distance runner Kenenisa Bekele's career is full of ups and downs, and the three-time Olympic champion is hoping to make 2012 a high point in London. The Ethiopian holds the world record in the 5,000 and 10,000-meter (3.1 and 6.2-mile races), but recent results marred by injuries means the 30-year-old he only qualified for the latter event.
Bekele has been setting the running world alight for the better part of a decade. He burst onto the scene at the junior level in 2001, breaking the world record for the 3,000.
The talented runner transferred that success onto the senior level the next year, beginning a five-year gold medal streak at the World Cross Country Championships in both the long and short races. He also won five gold medals at the World Athletics Championships between 2003 and 2009.
At his first Olympics in Athens he won gold and silver medals in the 10,000 and 5,000 respectively. Four years later in Beijing, Bekele won gold in both events.
Bekele's career has not always been positive. The decorated athlete has suffered numerous setbacks, both personal and professional.
His 18-year-old fiancée collapsed from an apparent heart attack in 2005 while the two were training together in Ethiopia. He carried her to his car, but she died before he reached the hospital.
Since 2009, injuries have made it difficult for the Ethiopian to maintain his high level of performance. He ran only the 10,000 at the 2011 World Athletics Championship in South Korea, and did not finish.
At the Olympic Qualifying meet earlier this month in Paris, Bekele did not finish among the top three Ethiopians in the 5,000, meaning he only got the chance to defend his 10,000m title in London
Bekele is the current world and Olympic record holder in both the 5,000 and 10,000. His 5,000 time of 12:37:35 means he averages just over four-minute miles.
He is a two-time International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athlete of the Year, and has 23 major gold medals.
He remained healthy for London, and a strong showing in the 10,000 meter final on Saturday earned him a silver medal.
Author: David Raish
Editor: Matt Zuvela