Abdi Bile

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Abdi Bile
Personal information
Born (1962-12-28) 28 December 1962 (age 56)
Las Anod, Sool
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight75 kg (165 lb)
Event(s)800m, 1500m, mile, 3000m
College teamGeorge Mason
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)800m: 1:43.60[1]
1500m: 3:30.55[1]
Mile: 3:49.40[1]

Abdi Bile (Somali: Cabdi Bille Cabdi, Arabic: عبد الله بلي عبد الله‎; born 28 December 1962) is a former middle distance runner who holds multiple Somali national records for various athletics disciplines. In 1987, he became world champion in the 1500 metres, the first Somali to do so.[2] In 1996 he represented Somalia at the 1996 Summer Olympics for the 1500 meters, his brother, Jama Bile, ran competitively for Northern Arizona University. His son Ahmed Bile runs for Georgetown University.

Early life[edit]

Bile (right) competing in the quarter-finals of the 800 metres in the 1984 Olympics

He was born in Las Anod, Somalia.[3] Abdi Bile grew up in a society where most of people were nomadic, he finished his high school in a school located in Erigavo. Abdi Bile started running when he first heard of the Somali runner Jamac Karacin who got scholarship into the US; this was when running became his hobby.[4] When Abdi was a kid he was very interested in football or soccer. Abdi Bile was a great runner but not the only runner in his family. There were many of his other siblings who were interested in running at that time.[2]

Running career[edit]

Bile won the 1500 m World Championship in 1987, running the final 800 m of the race in 1:46.00, the fastest final 800 m of any 1,500 metre race in history. He was a two-time Olympian (1984 and 1996) and dominated the event in the late 1980s. Bile was ranked first in the world at the mile distance in 1989, he was World Cup champion in the 1500 m in 1989[3] and two-time world Grand Prix final champion.

Bile graduated from George Mason University with a BSc in marketing management.[3] At George Mason, Bile was team captain and a two-time NCAA Division I 1,500 metre champion, winning his first title in 1985 (3:41.20) and the second in 1987 (3:35.79). He also won many conference titles and held the inter-collegiate 1500 m record for more than ten years.

He was coached by John Cook,[2] the former coach of 2008 Olympic 10,000 metre bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, his career was riddled with injuries, and he missed the 1991 World Championships as well as the 1988 and 1992 Olympics because of such problems.[3] In 1996 he finished sixth in the Olympic 1500 m final.[3]


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 5th (quarter-finals) 800 metres
4th (heats) 1500 metres
1985 African Championships Cairo, Egypt 2nd 1500 m
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 1st 1500 metres
1989 IAAF World Cup Barcelona, Spain 1st 1500 m
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 4th (heats) 800 m
3rd 1500 metres
IAAF Grand Prix Final London, United Kingdom 2nd 1500 m
1994 IAAF Grand Prix Final Paris, France 3rd 1500 m
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 7th (heats) 1500 m
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 6th 1500 metres

Personal life[edit]

Bile has traveled widely and has inspired many young people and helped several humanitarian organizations,[3] he is married, with two sons and daughter named Farhiya, born in 1995, Ahmed born 1993 and Mohamed born 2001. As a senior in high school, Ahmed won the Virginia state cross country title,[3] the 1000m title and 1600m title along with being a two-time New Balance All-American in the 800m.


  1. ^ a b c IAAF. "Athlete profile for Abdi Bile".
  2. ^ a b c Janofsky, Michael (8 May 1998). "OLYMPIC PROFILE: Abdi Bile; Running as a Nation Watches". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Abdi Bile Returns to Somalia Running Times
  4. ^ Jama, Abdirasak Ahmed (29 April 2012). "Tarikhda Cabdi Bile Cabdi oo ah ordaagii caanka ahaa ee Soomaaliya". Allgedo News Media Network (in Somali).

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Mohamed Aboker
Aboukar Hassan Adani
Flagbearer for  Somalia
Los Angeles 1984
Atlanta 1996
Succeeded by
Aboukar Hassan Adani
Ibrahim Mohamed Aden