Abebe Bikila (Amharic: አበበ ቢቂላ; August 7, 1932 – October 25, 1973) was an Ethiopian double Olympic marathon champion. He is most famous for winning a marathon gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome while running barefoot. In doing so, he also set the new world marathon record. He also became the first person in history to defend his Olympic marathon title in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, again setting a new world record—also, again, barefoot. He competed in the marathon in Mexico City in 1968, this time wearing track shoes, but dropped out after only six miles with severe blisters.
Even before his athletic career, Abebe served as a member of the Imperial Guard. He originally joined as a non-commissioned officer but would eventually rise to the rank of shambel (captain). In Ethiopia, he is most commonly and formally referred to as Shambel Abebe Bikila (Amharic: ሻምበል አበበ ቢቂላ).
Abebe Bikila was a trailblazer in long-distance running. Mamo Wolde, Haile Gebresellassie, Paul Tergat, and Tegla Loroupe, all recipients of the New York Road Runners' Abebe Bikila Award, are just a few of the athletes that have followed in his footsteps to establish East Africa as a formidable force in long-distance running. Abebe is celebrated as an Ethiopian hero and legend. In Ethiopia, there are many schools, venues and events named after him, including Abebe Bikila Stadium in Addis Ababa.