Bikila takes back to back Olympic marathons.
Ethiopia’s defending champion Abebe Bikila became the first to win back-to-back Olympic marathon titles when he defeated British runner B. Basil Heatley by 4 minutes 8 seconds in Tokyo. Bikila achieved the feat only 6 weeks after an appendectomy. He was awarded a car by the Ethiopian government for the victory, but in 1969 suffered a spinal injury in a road accident and was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. He died in 1973 aged 41.