Haile Gebrselassie's dream of crowning a glorious career with victory in the 2012 London Olympics vanished on the streets of New York on Sunday. The 37-year-old Ethiopian, who enjoyed unparalleled success on both the track and the roads, announced his retirement after dropping out of his New York City marathon debut because of a knee injury.
Gebrselassie had a previous change of mind after calling time on his track career following the 2004 Athens Olympics when he finished out of the medals in the 10,000 metres. He switched to the road with immediate success but said he would not run the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics because he feared air pollution would exacerbate his exercise-induced asthma which had already affected him in London.
However, he did return to the track, finishing eighth in the 10,000, before reducing his world marathon mark to 2:03:59 in Berlin.
The lure of London may still persuade Gebrselassie to carry on once his right knee heals and he recovers from the disappointment of dropping out on his New York City debut.
His tearful announcement to a stunned room of reporters on Sunday, though, was unequivocal. "I never thought about retirement," he said. "But for the first time, this is the day. Let me stop and do other work after this."
Rescued Chilean miner finished Marathon
NEW YORK: Proving his point that "yes, you can," Chilean miner Edison Pena ran the marathon, weeks after emerging relatively unscathed from two months' captivity underground with 32 fellow miners. Pena, one of 43,000 participants in the 26-mile foot race, was feted as a hero here.
"I want to show that it can be done," Pena had said.
Pena, 34, battled a knee injury but finished in 5 hours and 40 minutes a bit under the six hours he said he expected. In his dark glasses, wearing a knee support due to an injury in the mine, and carrying a Chilean flag, Pena crossed yet another daunting finish line.
Organisers piped in some music by his favourite, Elvis Presley, over loudspeakers and the crowd cheered him on wildly. Pena said he ran up to six miles a day through a series of tunnels in the mine during his 69-day ordeal.