Fastest Family In The World | Ethiopian Dibaba Sisters’ Rise to Stardom Is No Surprise To Them; Cousin Paved The Way As First Black African Woman To Win An Olympic Gold Medal

The continent of Africa has produced some of the fastest female runners in Olympics history. The Dibaba sisters are part of the rich history of African runners, and many believe they are “the fastest family in the world.”

(Counterclockwise from left) Tirunesh Dibaba running in a London marathon; Dibaba sisters together for a family photo, and Tirunesh and Anna posing for a photo right before a marathon. (Photos: Screenshots from Tirunesh’s Instagram account)

The Ethiopian-born sisters are a perfect combination of beauty and speed. They have also set world records in distance running. The long lineage of runners in their family set them up for greatness well before they realized it. Tirunesh, Genzebe, and Ejegayehu Dibaba have a combined total of four Olympic gold medals, two silver medals, three bronze medals, and 15 World Championships.

Family Ties

The Dibaba sisters come from humble beginnings. They were raised in a round hut without electricity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Their parents had a total of seven children. Their parents also were farmers who grew wheat, barely, and teff.

Their cousin Derartu Tulu became the first Black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and was the main source of the Dibabas’ inspiration to start running.

Historic Sisters

Tirunesh is the most decorated of the sisters. She won three Olympic gold medals, five World Championships gold medals, four individual World Cross Country (WCC) senior titles, and one individual WCC junior title. Her first gold medals came during the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, where she became the first woman to win gold in the 5000 meters and 10,000 maters races at the same Games. She continued making history at the 2012 London Olympic games and picked up another gold medal.

Genzebe is considered the second-best runner in her family. She holds the most world records by one woman in track history with four. She currently holds the world record for the 1,500 meters, indoor mile, indoor 3,000 meters, and indoor 5,000 meters. Genzebe won a silver medal in the 1500 at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Ejegayehu is considered the long-distance runner of the family. She brought home a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic games for the 10,000 meters race. She also claimed bronze medals in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the 2005 World Championships and was the 2003 Afro-Asian Games and All-Africa Games champion in the 10,000.

In addition to their outstanding track careers, the Dibaba sisters are real estate moguls and reportedly own several buildings in Addis Ababa. They also are mothers, aunts, and still active in the promoting the next wave of track talent to come from Ethiopia.

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