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Mamo Wolde
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    (June 12, 1932-May 26, 2002)
    Born in Diri Jille, Ethiopia
    Birth name was Degaga Wolde
    Won gold (1968) and bronze (1972) Olympic medals in the marathon
    Won a silver Olympic medal in the 10,000 meters (1968)
    He was a member of Haile Selassie's Imperial Guards.
    At the 1956 Olympics, he competed in three events (800 m, 1500 m, and 4x400 relay) and finished last in his heat in each one.
    He claimed his absence from the 1960 Olympics was a result of the government trying to send him on a peacekeeping mission to the Congo, but other athletes indicated that he simply failed to make the cut during the Olympic trials.
    After the overthrow of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, he was arrested and accused of taking part in the regime's 'Red Terror.' (1993)
    He was officially convicted of one killing, sentenced to six years in prison, then released as he had already served longer waiting for his trial (2002).
    He served with a UN peacekeeping force in Korea (1953-55).
    He won the 1968 Olympic marathon by such a large margin that he completed his victory lap before the silver medalist crossed the finish line.
    At 40, he became the oldest Olympic medalist in the marathon.
    Because of his Olympic fame, he was one of the few Imperial Guards not to be summarily executed when Mariam seized power.
    He spent several years in prison before any charges were even filed against him.
    At his trial, his lawyer pointed out (ultimately to no avail) that the case against Wolde was built entirely on hearsay, with no evidence or eyewitnesses linking him directly to any killing.

Credit: C. Fishel

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