Today we pay tribute to
Kipchoge Hezekiah “Kip” Keino (born 17 January 1940), chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC), is a retired Kenyan track and field athlete and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Kip Keino was among the first in a long line of successful middle and long distance runners to come from the country and has helped and inspired many of his fellow
countrymen and women to become the athletics force that they are today.
In 2012, he was of one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall Of Fame.
Keino was born in Kipsamo, Nandi District, Kenya. Both of his parents died while he was young. He was then brought up by his aunt. After finishing school, he joined the Kenya Police. Before taking up athletics, he played rugby.
He began his international career at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia where he came eleventh in the three miles. At the 1964 Summer Olympics he finished fifth in 5000 m and just missed
qualification for the 1500 m final.
On 27 August 1965, Keino lowered the 3000 m world record by over 6 seconds to 7:39.6 in his first attempt at the distance. He won two gold medals (1500 & 5000 metres) at the inaugural All-Africa Games. Later in that year he broke the 5000 m world record held by Ron Clarke, clocking 13:24.2. At the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica he won both the mile run and three mile run. In the next Commonwealth Games, Keino won the 1500 metres and was third in the 5000 metres.
At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, he won the 1500 metres gold medal (defeating American favourite and world record
holder Jim Ryun by 20 meters, the largest winning margin in the history of the event) and 5000 m silver medal. Four years later, he won the 3000 metres steeplechase gold and 1500 metres silver at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. He retired in 1973. He is on the cover of the October 1968 issue of Track and Field News, the first issue following the Olympics He shared the cover of the September 1969 issue with Naftalib Bon.
In 1987, he shared Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year” award with seven others, characterized as “Athletes Who Care”, for his work with orphans.
Currently, Keino lives on a farm in Western Kenya where he controls and runs a charitable organization for orphans, and is president of the Kenyan Olympic Committee. He is married to Phyllis Keino. One son Martin was a two-time NCAA champion and highly successful pace-setter.
He has built Kip Keino Primary School located near Eldoret, while Kip Keino Secondary School opened in 2009; theInternational Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge was present at the opening ceremony. Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret is named after him. In 1996, he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
In 2007, he was made an honorary Doctor of Law by the University of Bristol. Earlier, Egerton University in Nakuru had awarded him an honorary degree. In July 2012 he received further recognition from the City of Bristol after the Kenyan Olympic Committee, under his presidency, made Bristol the training base for its athletes in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics. The Bristol City Council awarded him freedom of the City, making him the first to receive this honour from Bristol since Sir Winston Churchill. His name, Kipchoge, is a Nandi language expression for “born near the grain storage shed