Mille Wolde Giving Back To The Sport- Gold Medal Style!

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image1.jpegRunblogrun's Jeff Benjamin, Mille Wolde, Track & Field Writer George Kochman, photo by Jeff Benjamin

image0.jpegOlympic Gold Medalist Mille Wolde (Left) with the members of the Holy Child HS XC Team At Van Cortlandt Park, photo by Jeff Benjamin

image2.jpegMille Wolde takes Sydney 5000m, photo by Getty Images / World Athletics

Mille Wolde Giving Back To The Sport- Gold Medal Style!

By Jeff Benjamin

Recently the Holy Cross High School XC team was spotted at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. While not an unusual occurrence, as hundreds (thousands?) of youth, high school, collegiate and Elite squads have been known to train and race along the tough paths on what Manhattan College Coach Matt Centrowitz Sr. Calls "The Carnegie Hall of Cross Country!"

But, unbeknownst to many was who one of the members of the Holy Child Coaching Staff was at the Park, and he's an Olympic Gold Medalist!

In 2000, Ethiopian Million "Mille" Wolde won the Olympic 5000 in Sydney with a time of 13:35.49, kicking over the last lap In 53.8 seconds to secure the victory.

A protege of the Great Haile Gebrselassie, Wilde's first ever World-Class Medal was at the 1999 World Indoors, where he secured a Bronze in the 3000 meters behind his victorious older teammate.

Then Rewind to 1998 when Wolde won the World XC Junior Championships.

Living in the USA now for a few years, Wolde is giving back to the Sport he still loves, as he looked to guidance not only from his own experiences, but that of Mike Barnow the founder and head of the renowned Westchester Track Club.

Now an Assistant Coach at Holy Child High School, Wolde is continuing to pass on his love of Running to the future generation!

How Did You Get Involved In The Sport?

"As a kid, I used to play soccer. So, I have an interest in different sports. At a place where my friends and I used to play soccer there were runners who used to train almost on a daily basis and looking at those athletes and their training, I got attracted to the running sport. The rest is history."

How Did It Progress From There?

"I am fast learner. For example, as soon as I found interest in running, I joined the training camp. Then within a short period of time I got a chance to find a running club, which is essential in Ethiopia. It did not take me long to run representing my country"

Your first XC Race?

"My first XC race, I guess, it was 1996. I had the very first race outside of Ethiopia. It was in Cape Town South Africa. I will never forget getting a medal from Nelson Mandela."

Can you describe your Olympic Victory?

"It was a remarkable moment. I got praises from my people and prizes from our government. So, it was remarkable. That Olympic moment has a special place in my life."

Can You Describe Your Training Attitude?

"Having Perseverance and being open to learn new methods."

Did You Ever Do Any Kind of Cross-Training or Weight Training?

"No, I din not have much focuse on weights - I did more of a physical exercise as a distance runner."

How's it different being a Coach today at a High School in the USA compared to Ethiopia?

"Not so much. But, In fact, the equipment and scientific backings exist here in USA. Well, back home we have very limited access to equipment and resources. So that makes it different."

As an Olympic Champion What Advice Can You Give Young Runners?

"I advise young runners to have commitment, perseverance and have a clear goal. They will achieve this with those qualities. That is my message!"

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