Former Ethiopian athlete Miruts Yifter, a two-time Olympic champion, who had been staying at Bridgepoint Health in Toronto for months, has passed away at the age of 72.
The IAAF, the governing body for international athletics, lists his birth date as May 15, 1944.While Miruts Yifter was being treated at Bridgepoint Hospital (Toronto, ON), hundreds of Ethiopians from the local community had visited him; and he as well as his family members had been receiving calls from a variety of high-profiled names including past runners on a daily basis. The Ambassador of Ethiopia to Canada, Mrs. Birtukan Ayano, recently visited Yifter at Bridgepoint and tweeted out the below photo, with Miruts Yifter sporting the iconic green Ethiopian track jacket.
Born in Adigrat, in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, Miruts Yifter spent early parts of his youth working in different factories and as a carriage driver. His talent as a long-distance runner was noticed when he joined the Ethiopian Air Force.
He made his Olympic debut in Munich Olympics (1972) where he won a bronze medal in 10,000 meters. In the 1973 All-Africa Games he won one gold medal (10,000 m) and one silver (5000 m). After missing the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Miruts Yifter ―regarded as “The Shifter”― won two Olympic titles at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow in the 5,000m and 10,000m.
Team EthiopiaOnline would like to pass their condolences to Miruts’s family, friends and supporters all over the world. He will be remembered by Ethiopians as one of the greatest athletes in the world and remain as an iconic hero for generations.