10 September 1960

At the Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila becomes the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.

Abebe Bikila was an Ethiopian long-distance runner who is perhaps best known for his historic victory at the 1960 Rome Olympics when he won the marathon race while running barefoot. Abebe Bikila was born on August 7, 1932, in Jato, a village in the mountains of Ethiopia. He came from a humble background and initially served in the Imperial Bodyguard of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

1960 Rome Olympics: Abebe Bikila made history at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. He was selected to represent Ethiopia in the marathon, which is a 26.2-mile (42.195-kilometer) race.

Barefoot Running: Bikila made a bold decision to run the marathon without shoes. This decision was not premeditated but was due to circumstances. His official running shoes were causing him discomfort, so he decided to run barefoot, a style he had trained in previously.

Victorious Run: Bikila’s decision to run barefoot turned out to be a brilliant choice. He completed the marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 16.2 seconds, setting a new world record and becoming the first African to win a gold medal at the Olympics. His performance made him an instant global sensation.

Symbol of African Athleticism: Abebe Bikila’s victory and barefoot run symbolized the emergence of African athletes on the international stage. It shattered stereotypes and demonstrated that athletes from Africa, particularly Ethiopia, could excel in long-distance running.

Repeat Victory: Bikila’s success did not end in Rome. He went on to win another Olympic gold medal in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first athlete to successfully defend his Olympic marathon title.

Legacy: Abebe Bikila’s legacy extends far beyond his athletic achievements. He inspired generations of Ethiopian and African athletes, paving the way for their success in long-distance running. His determination, strength, and iconic barefoot run continue to be celebrated in the world of sports.

Injury and Tragic Accident: Unfortunately, Bikila’s career was cut short by a car accident in 1969 that left him partially paralyzed. Despite this tragic event, he remained active in sports and various other pursuits.

Passing Away: Abebe Bikila passed away on October 25, 1973, at the age of 41. His legacy lives on as a symbol of Ethiopian and African athletic prowess.

10 September 1823

Simón Bolívar is named President of Peru.

He was called El Liberator by the natives of Peru, Venzeula and Colombia, who followed his military leadership to independence. Sympathetic Americans drew parallels with their own struggle for independence, and called Simon Bolivar the “George Washington of South America.” Indeed, Simon Bolivar was the most important political and military figure in South American history, liberating Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela from Spain, and organizing them into self-sustaining nations — mostly under his leadership.

On this day, September 10, in 1823, after liberating Colombia and adding to its territory, Simon Bolivar returned to Peru to take charge of the military and government.

After the Upper Peru region became a separate nation, with Bolivar’s blessing, their government asked Bolivar to become their president. Bolivar declined, but did appoint one of his top aides, General Antonio José de Sucre, to the post. The country decided to name themselves after Bolivar: like Rome named after Romulus, from Bolivar would come Bolivia.

10 September 1846

10 September 1846 – Elias Howe gets a patent for the sewing machine.


While working as a journeyman machinist, Elias Howe Jr. wrestled for years to find a way to mechanize sewing. With the family pinched by poverty, his wife sewed for others by hand at home. Watching her sew, Howe visualized ways to mechanize the process. In 1845, he built his first sewing machine and soon constructed an improved model, which he carried to the Patent Office in Washington to apply for a patent. He received the fifth United States patent for a sewing machine in 1846.

Howe’s patent claims were upheld in court to allow his claim to control the combination of the eye-pointed needle with a shuttle to form a lockstitch. Howe met with limited success in marketing his sewing machine. Subsequent inventors patented their versions of sewing machines, some of which infringed on Howe’s patent. He quickly realized his fortune depended on defending his patent and collecting royalty fees from sewing machine manufacturers. These royalty licenses granted companies the right to use the Howe patent on their machines.

In 1856, after years of lawsuits over patent rights, Elias Howe and three companies, Wheeler & Wilson, Grover and Baker, and I. M. Singer, formed the first patent pool in American industry. The organization was called the Sewing Machine Combination and/or the Sewing Machine Trust. This freed the companies from expensive and time-consuming litigation and enabled them to concentrate on manufacturing and marketing their machines.

10 September 1960

At the Rome 1960 Summer Olympics the Ethiopian, Abebe Bikila wins a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.

Abebe Bikila’s victory at the Rome 1960 Summer Olympics is a historic and iconic moment in the world of sports. Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian long-distance runner, made history by winning the gold medal in the men’s marathon event. However, it was not just his victory that made headlines but also the remarkable circumstances surrounding his win.

Barefoot Victory: Perhaps the most famous aspect of Bikila’s win was that he ran the entire marathon barefoot. This decision was not a result of any planned strategy but rather a last-minute choice. Bikila had originally trained with running shoes but found them uncomfortable during the race’s final preparations. Consequently, he chose to run barefoot, showcasing his extraordinary endurance and resilience.

Record-Breaking Performance: Abebe Bikila’s time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 16.2 seconds in the marathon set a new world record. His impressive performance not only won him the gold medal but also marked the first Olympic gold medal ever won by an African athlete in a long-distance event.

Symbol of African Excellence: Bikila’s victory in Rome was seen as a symbol of African athletic prowess and endurance. It represented the emergence of African nations as contenders on the international sports stage.

A Second Gold: Abebe Bikila would go on to compete in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where he once again won the gold medal in the marathon. This time, he wore shoes but still managed to break the world record.

Legacy: Abebe Bikila’s legacy extends beyond his remarkable athletic achievements. He became a national hero in Ethiopia and an inspiration to many aspiring athletes, particularly in Africa. His success helped pave the way for future African long-distance runners to excel in international competitions.