People Who Kick Buts: Wilson Kipketer
I was pushed by myself because I have my own rule, and that is that every day I run faster and try harder.
- Born on December 12, 1972.
- He holds the current indoor world records at the 1000 and 800 metres distance.
While dominating the 800m distance for a decade, remaining undefeated for a three-year period and running 8 of the 17 currently all-time fastest times, he never won an Olympic gold medal. He did, however, win gold medals in three successive editions of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Kipketer’s 800 meters world record stood for almost 13 years.
- Kipketer was born in Kapchemoiywo, Kenya, into the Kalenjin tribe.
- As a teenager, he was first noticed by 1968 and 1972 Olympic champion Kip Keino. Keino suggested Kipketer attend the Catholic St. Patrick’s High School in Iten that was famous for bringing up young runners.
- In 1990, Kipketer travelled to Denmark as a foreign exchange student, studying electronic engineering. He liked Denmark so much that he applied for Danish citizenship.
- However, Kipketer was not a full Danish citizen, and in 1996 the International Olympic Committee disallowed him from competing for Denmark in the Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. Despite his absence from the Olympics, there was no doubt that Kipketer was the strongest 800 m runner in the world that year.
- In 1997 Kipketer was at the peak of his career. In March he won the 800 m gold at the Indoor World Championships in Paris, France.
- In 2002, Kipketer won the gold medal at the European Championships in Munich, defeating the reigning world champion, Andre Bucher and 2000 Olympic champion, Nils Schumann. He also won 8 of the 9 races he contested, had the fastest 800 metre time in the world (1:42.32), and ranked number one in the world for 800 metres for a record sixth time (one more than Mal Whitfield).