Marathon Champion Sammy Wanjiru Dead at 24
Sammy Wanjiru, one of the greatest marathoners of all time and still in the prime of his career has died at age 24.
According to some early reports, Wanjiru committed suicide by jumping to his death from a balcony in his house shortly after being caught with another woman by his wife.
One police official said the 24-year-old Wanjiru committed suicide, while another official said he jumped to stop his wife from leaving the house after she discovered him with another woman. His agent, Federico Rosa, does not believe it was suicide.
Wanjiru, from Kenya, was the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist, setting the olympic record. At the time, the 21 year old Kenyan, promised that he would dominate distance running for the next decade.
A past world record holder at the half marathon, Wanjiru moved up to the marathon and set a number of bests including a course record at the London Marathon (now bested); the course record at the Chicago Marathon which at the time was also the fastest marathon ever recorded in North America. He was plagued by marital problems and withdrew before starting from his most recently planned marathon, the 2011 London Marathon.
Career Highlights: 2004 Olympic gold medalist; 3-time World Outdoor champion (’03, ’05, ‘09); 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist; 2003 World Indoor champion; 4-time USA Outdoor champion (’03, ’04, ’07. ‘09); 3-time USA Outdoor runner-up (’00, ’05, ’06); 2001 U.S. Indoor champion.
Dwight Phillips – world’s best long jumper
2009: USA Outdoor champion (8.57m/28-1.50w)… 1st at Nike Prefontaine Classic (8.74m/28-8.25PR, World Leader) … 2nd at Hengelo (8.54m/28-0.25)…ranked #1 in world by T&FN…best of 8.74m/28.8.25.
During the 2008 indoor track & field season, Tia Hellebaut returned her focus to multi-events and became world champion of pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, where she set a record for the best high jump result in a women’s multi-event competition, clearing 1.99 m. (6.53 feet).
At the 2008 summer Olympics, held in Beijing, Hellebaut reached her pinnacle by winning the gold medal in the high jump, ahead of the favorite, Blanca Vlasic of Croatia, with a new outdoor personal best of 2.05 m. (6.73 feet).
Her achievement represented the first-ever athletics gold medal in the Olympics for a Belgian, and only the second of any color, one day after Belgium won their first (silver) medal in the 4×100m relay.
On 5 December 2008, Hellebaut announced her pregnancy and her retirement from professional athletics. On June 9, 2009, Hellebaut gave birth to a daughter named Lotte.
After her professional track & field career, Hellebaut started working for a sports marketing company.