The Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, two-time Olympic champion and owner of the world record in marathon, was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award, awarded by the Princess of Asturias Foundation and will receive it at the ceremony that will take place in Oviedo, Spain, next October.
“It’s a real honor to receive the Princess of Asturias Award. Being part of the cast of such extraordinary winners, all people from different walks of life, motivates me in my goal of leaving a legacy in this world through the sport of running, since a world in which people run is a more peaceful, happier and healthier world,” said Kipchoge, winner of four Olympic medals: he was bronze in Athens 2004, silver in Beijing 2008 and won in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
The marathon legend set a new world record on September 25, 2022 by winning in Berlin (Germany) with a time of 2:01:09 and breaking the 2:01.39 that he himself had since 2018.
“I would like to thank Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias and her parents, Her Majesties the Kings of Spain, for granting me this honor,” said Kipchoge, who won 10 times in the Grand Marathons: Chicago (2014), London (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019), Berlin (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022) and Tokyo (2022).
The jury, chaired by the Spanish swimmer Teresa Perales Fernández, winner of 27 Paralympic medals between Sydney 2000 and Tokyo 2020, “valued the figure of the athlete as a reference in world athletics and as the best marathon runner of all time. Two-time Olympic champion and holder of the world record for the race, Kipchoge is the only man in history who has managed to fall below two hours in the 42.195 kilometers, a mark not officially recognized”.
“In addition to his successes as an athlete, he carries out important social work through the foundation that bears his name, which is dedicated to facilitating access to early childhood education and the protection of the environment,” added the jury, which unanimously chose Kipchoge as the winner of the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award.
Kipchoge is the fourth African athlete to be distinguished after the Algerian Hassiba Boulmerka (1995), Olympic champion in the 1500 meters in Barcelona 1992; the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj (2004), who won the gold medals in the 1500 and 5000 meters in Athens 2004 and the Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie (2011), champion in the 10,000 meters in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.
In addition to these cases, the other athletes related to athletics who were awarded the Princess of Asturias Award are the British Sebastian Coe (1987), the Ukrainian Sergey Bubka (1991), the Cuban Javier Sotomayor (1993), the American Carl Lewis (1996), the Spanish marathon team (1997), the Russian Yelena Isinbayeva (2009) and the New York Marathon (2014).
The Princess of Asturias Awards have been awarded since 1981 (until 2014 they were called the Prince of Asturias Awards) and they award outstanding individuals or institutions in Communication and Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts, Letters, Scientific and Technical Research, International Cooperation, Concordia and Sports.
The first time an athlete was distinguished was in 1986 and the winner was the British Sebastian Coe, Olympic champion in the 1500 meters in Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 and current president of World Athletics.
The Olympic Team of Refugee Athletes, which was created in 2016 and was present at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games, had been the last to be recognized with the Princess of Asturias Award in sports.