Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kipchoge Keino has finally received the prestigious Olympic Laurel which he was awarded in 2016 during the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The Olympic Laurel is a distinction awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honor those who have “made significant achievements in education, culture, development, and peace through sport”.
It was introduced in 2016 to implement a part of recommendation 26 of Olympic Agenda 2020.
Kipchoge Keino was the first recipient of the Olympic Laurel which will be presented during the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games, and it has taken 6 years for the award to finally arrive to the retired Kenyan track and field athlete.
The award was finally received by Kipchoge Keino in Eldoret, the home of champions, on December 16, 2021.
After receiving it, the 81-year-old former athlete handed the Olympic Laurel to students at Kipchoge Keino School which he founded.
“It has cost over Ksh970,000 for this award to be sent from Switzerland to Kenya so that it reaches me. It is a great honor to me, the athletes in Kenya, all the sportsmen and women, and the youths of Kipchoge Keino school,” Kipchoge Keino said while receiving the award.
He also challenged the government and devolved units to invest heavily in spots so that young talents can be nurtured.
“I feel we have a lot of talents which we need to sit down and take care of our youths all through primary, secondary and university level. We need to invest in sports facilities for our youths to utilize. Governors let us invest in sports, it is an investment that will make us produce a lot of talents,” noted Kipchoge Keino.
Born in Kipsamo, Nandi County, Kipchoge Keino was among the first in a long line of successful middle and long-distance runners to come from Kenya and has helped and inspired many of his fellow countrymen and women to become the athletics force that they are today.
In 2000, he became an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 2012, he was one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the IAAF Hall of Fame.