Miruts Yifeter, double Olympic champion at the Moscow Olympic passed away in a Toronto hospital at the age of 72. The news is reported by Ethiopian Satellite Television. He was born in Adigrat, Tigray region of Ethiopia in 1944.
He has been ailing for a long time now. His Biniam Miruts reportedly told the Associated Press that his father was suffering from respiratory problems.
The Associated Press reported that family and the Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials are informed about the death of Miruts Yfeter.
He won gold in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters men’s category at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. According to Wikipedia information his personal best time in the two distances was 13:13.82 and 27:40.96 respectively. He was forty years of age when he won the Olympic double gold medal.
During his career, he also participated in the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) events in Düsseldorf and Montreal in 1977 and 1979 respectively and won gold medal.
His result oriented finishing competence earned him the name “Yifter the Shifter” – locally known as Marshe Keyariwu
Miruts apparently worked in a factory and as driver before he started his running career. Later he joined Ethiopian Air Force as an athlete.
He was criticized , wrote the Associated Press, for “not winning gold medals at the Munich Games” and was jailed upon return. He left Ethiopia in 2000 for Canada and was living in Canada since then.
Mirutse Yifter is survived by seven children and most of them live outside of Ethiopia, according to Associated Press report.
His body will arrive in Ethiopia some time next week.
Haile Gebreselassie is quoted as saying “When I started running, I just wanted to be like him. He is the reason for who I’m now and for what I have achieved” by the Associated Press.
Hail says he was inspired by Mirutse Yifter.