The Ethiopian track and field Olympic team was announced earlier this week and the Ethiopian federation showed zero creativity in their picks. They went strictly by 2012 seasonal best times.
We'll provide a few comments about the team after we present a chart with all of the Olympians on it to you first. Below you will see the 2012 Ethiopian middle distance and distance track and field team for the 2012 London Olympic Games. To the right of the athlete's names, you will find their current 2012 world rank based on time. If a second number is listed, that is their rank if one takes out more than three people from a given country. For example, there can only be three Kenyan men or three Russian women in a given event so we've removed #4, #5, etc.
Where's Dibaba On The Women's 5000 List?
The list shows the Ethiopians weren't sentimental at all in their picks - time ruled the day.
The most interesting development is in the women's 5000. Double Olympic champ Tirunesh Dibaba is only the 4th fastest Ethiopian on the year in the event even though she's undefeated on the year. As a result, she was named to the team as a "Reserve." Will she not be moved to a top three position unless she improves her time between now and the start of the Olympics? What if she wins the 10,000? Wouldn't that be enough?
One might think so but don't know the answer. As a result, we are reaching out to LetsRun.com friend and Ethiopian journalist Teferi Debebe to try and find out.
Men's 10,000 - "Mr. Silver" Sileshi Sihine Left Off
Subjectivity certainly wasn't used for the men's picks either.
For example, in the men's 10,000 the third spot came down to Gebre Gebremariam (27:06.58) and Sileshi Sihine (27:03.65).Gebremariam and Sihine raced at 10,000 twice this year - once in Hengelo and once in London - as the Ethiopians kept having round after round of unofficial Olympic Trials, and the results were 1-1.
In Hengelo, Sihine beat Gebremariam by 1.06. In London, Gebremariam beat Sihine by just 0.07. Yet Gebremariam was named to the team because the London result was more recent and the time was faster there than in Hengelo.
Gebremariam is no slouch as he was the 2009 World Cross-Country and 2010 ING New York City Marathon champion but one might think the Ethiopians would have picked Sileshi Sihine.Gebremariam has been to five Olympics or world champs on the track and never medalled.Sihine has proven himself time and again as someone who can get the job on the track as he's won five World Championships silver medals in the 5,000/10,000. You'd think Ethiopia might reward "Mr. Silver" for his past accomplishments but that's not what happened.
Men's Marathon - The Only Exception
The men's marathon was the only event where times didn't rule the day. World #2 for 2012 Temane Adhere who ran 2:04:48 to win Rotterdam was left off the team in place of the runner-up at Rotterdam, Getu Feleke, who was just two seconds behind - 2:04:50. The rationale behind this decision was that Adhere ran the unofficial Ethiopian Trials in Dubai on January 27 and was only 10th (admittedly in 2:06:29) and they didn't want to reward him for having an extra race or have him run three marathons in the span of 7 months.
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