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Keino, Kip

byname of Hezekiah Kipchoge Keino

(born Jan. 17, 1940, Nandi Hills, Kenya) Kenyan distance runner who won four Olympic medals.

Keino's father, a long distance runner, encouraged his son in the sport. Keino herded goats and trained in Kenya's hill country, which prepared him well for high-altitude competition. He emerged as a leading distance runner during the mid-1960s, setting world records at 3,000 metres (7 min 39.6 sec) and 5,000 metres (13 min 24.2 sec).

At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Keino's ability to make use of the available oxygen allowed him to excel in the thin air. He won a silver medal in the 5,000-metre race and a gold in the 1,500 metres, also competing in the 10,000 metres—an exhausting series of races. His controversial victory over Jim Ryun in the 1,500 metres is considered one of running's greatest upsets; Keino's teammate Ben Jipcho had been assigned to set a fast pace to break Ryun, an intent known to Keino and for which Jipcho later apologized. At the 1972 Games in Munich, Keino won a silver in the 1,500 metres and a gold in the 3,000-metre steeplechase.

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