How a yellow jersey is dividing Brazil
BRASILIA – The first thing most people notice when they meet one of the world’s great runners is how tall he is. He can be close to six feet in height.
For Brazil, he is also known as the “Yellow Jersey,” as it is his official jersey number.
Here at a few weeks out from the Olympics in Rio, he is being called “The Greatest Showman” after his winning time of 3 hours, 26 minutes, 48 seconds at the 2012 Games. It is the fifth-fastest ever by a man over 40 years old in track running, behind only Usain Bolt (3:45.09 at the 2004 Olympics in Athens), Mark Spitz (3:41.99 at the 2004 Olympics in Athens), Tyson Gay (3:40.59 at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney) and Carl Lewis (3:42.57 at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney).
For years, the Yellowjacket has been a star of the track, winning world records at everything from the mile (3:53.95 at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo) to the 5,000-meter (14:44.72 at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart) to the marathon (3:50.41 at the 1992 Goodwill Games in Seattle). “My dream has always been to run the Olympic Games,” he said. “To be the best in the world at the Olympics and to be able to represent my country in an Olympic Games is something I have dreamed of my whole life.”
But he also dreams of his country running well at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he will become the oldest Olympic Champion of all time. He has been in a coma since June, when he had a heart attack during a training run. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors say he could potentially have a brain aneurysm. A neurologist says there is “only a 30 percent chance he’ll wake up.”
Here’s a look back at how the Yellowjacket has risen to this point.
The first runner who came close to the Yellowjacket
Brazil had great hopes for the Yellowjacket when he was born in 1969. His only real rival in the sport was his uncle, who was a steeplechaser and a high school basketball player. His grandfather was the