Ethiopia's former Olympic marathon Champion Abebe Bikila, badly crippled in a car crash during 1969, arrived in Munich in a wheelchair on Thursday (24 August) as a spectator for the 1972 Games.
MV TILT DOWN Bikila carried down steps of aircraft and greeted by hostess and Manfred Germar
SV Newsmen PAN TO SV and CU Bikila in wheelchair
MV Bikila carried to another wheelchair and presented with bouquet
SV PAN sign on Lufthansa aircraft
SV PAN Bikila wheeled across tarmac
Initials OS/1734 OS/1742
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Background: Ethiopia's former Olympic marathon Champion Abebe Bikila, badly crippled in a car crash during 1969, arrived in Munich in a wheelchair on Thursday (24 August) as a spectator for the 1972 Games.
Hailed as the greatest marathon runner in history, Bikila took the gold medals for the event at Rome in 1960 and at Tokyo in 1964. He sustained serious neck and spine injuries when the car he was driving was in collision with another vehicle about 62 miles (100kms) outside Addis Ababa.
Bikila, at the time a captain in Emperor Haile Selassie's personal bodyguard, was flown to London for treatment at the famous Stoke Mandeville hospital. Although he has since regained the use of the upper part of his body, he is still paralysed from the waist downwards.
Now 40 years old, Bikila comes to Munich at the special invitation of the Olympics Committee. On his arrival he was given a warm welcome from competing athletes, including Manfred Germar, West Germany's 200 metres hope.
SYNOPSIS: Once the world's greatest marathon runner and now a cripple after a serious car accident three years ago. Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila arrives to watch the Munich Olympics...and has to be carried off the plane. He's greeted by Manfred Germar, West Germany's hope for the 200-metres. Bikila took the marathon gold medals at the Rome games in nineteen-sixty, and in Tokyo four years later.
Bikila was lucky to escape death in nineteen-sixty-nine when the car he was driving was in collision with another vehicle near Addis Ababa in his homeland. He sustained serious neck and spine injuries, and at one stage it was thought he'd be completely paralysed. But prompt treatment at London's famous Stoke Mandeville restored movement to at least the upper part of his body....although now the man who was once one of the fastest runners on earth must make his way around in a wheelchair.
Bikila is now forty. He's in Munich as an honoured spectator at the special invitation of the Olympics Committee.