Abebe Bikila

Bikila Awards Inc. pays tribute to the legendary long-distance runner Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia, serving as an inspiration for athletes worldwide. In 1960, Abebe Bikila ran barefoot in Rome, overcoming significant challenges to win Ethiopia's and Africa’s first Olympic Gold Medal by setting a record and defining his legacy. His determination in adverse conditions became an iconic moment, moving witnesses to tears.

Abebe Bikila's subsequent victories in Tokyo and resilience in the scorching 1964 conditions further solidified his status as a running legend. His impact on the Olympics is echoed by testimonials from fellow athletes, illustrating the awe and respect he garnered for his unparalleled feats.

Even in his third Olympic Marathon in 1968, Mexico, though unable to finish because of illness, Bikila's selflessness shone through as he urged his fellow countrymen to make history in his stead. His fellow athlete, Mamo Wolde won Gold. Winning Gold in a Marathon for three consecutive Olympics record still stands today. Since then, not only Ethiopian long-distance runners, but Africans have flourished, significantly contributing to their country's global success.

Regrettably, the remarkable Abebe Bikila, who ignited Ethiopia's dominance in long-distance running, appears somewhat forgotten within his homeland. The establishment of the Bikila Awards in 2013 serves as a noble endeavour to revive his legacy.

Bikila Award is established to foster academic, professional, and business excellence, promote volunteerism among persons of Ethiopian origin residing around the world, and recognize exemplary Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia through awards and recognitions. Academic excellence and scholarship awards for outstanding students are available every year. The younger generations are especially encouraged to emulate Abebe’s indomitable spirit as they pursue their dreams and exceed expectations.


Mission Statement

The mission of Bikila Award is to foster academic, professional and business excellence and promote volunteerism among persons of Ethiopian origin, primarily through award and recognition. Bikila Award is created mainly to empower young people to reach their highest potential and to celebrate their achievements.

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