Dr. Almaram Giro (1951-2006) was a four time Olympic champion athlete and a human rights activist. He was born and raised in Khartoum, Sudan. He started running while he was a freshman student in high school. After witnessing his outstanding running performance in class competitions, his PE teacher contacted the 1968 Olympic committee of Sudan to include Giro in their team. Even though Giro was only 17 years old at the time, his time in 5000 meters was better than all of the athletes included on the team. In the 1968 Mexico Olympics 5000 meter final, Giro celebrated an unexpected result.; he not only won the gold medal, but also he took the world record title from Paul of Kenya by finishing 12:32:56, which was 45 seconds better than Paul’s time. In addition, he became the youngest athlete to win the gold medal in Olympic history. Furthermore, Giro won the three consecutive Olympic gold medals at West Germany, Canada, and U.S.S.R that made him the only person to win the gold medal four times in a row in the Olympic history; and his 12:32:56 world record time is still unbreakable. In his running career, Giro won more than 45 world champion and cross country titles and shattered 25 world records. For his unbeatable performance, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) gave him the “world’s best male athlete” title for five years in a row from 1974 to 1978. In 1995 at the age of 44, he retired from running and focused on other important things for him. In 1997, Oxford University gave him a honorary doctorate in PE for his contribution in the field of athletics.

Giro was also known for his human rights activist role in the world, especially in Africa. He visited many countries around the world while he was working as a UN humanitarian ambassador and that motivated him to become a human rights activist. Giro used his respect in athletics to influence world leaders’ to respect the rights of their citizens; he held more than 15 meetings with different African leaders to request their willingness and action towards the settlement of human rights for their citizens. He won the 2000 Nobel Peace prize for his work as a mediator to stop the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which accounted for the death of more than 800 thousand Rwandan people in a 100 days range. Moreover, Giro also participated in many humanitarian activates by donating his money and time; he donated 15 million dollars to people whose lives were affected by conflicts in 1999 only. Giro died on September, 16 2000 in a car accident. He was married to Elizabeth Khalid and had 5 children.

Daniel Firew