Tulu and Meyer, the victory of Africa in an embrace that lasts 30 years

The africa outline gold sparkles t-shirt Elana Mayer. Derartu Tulu she wears a tracksuit from Ethiopia as if ready to run. Like that August 7, 1992and on the same stage, the Montjuïc Olympic Stadiumwhere both meet again with the same smiles, the same desire to send the world their message of peace, african pride, anti-racismthat when his lap of honor after ten thousand meters became one of the most iconic moments not only in Barcelona-92, but perhaps in the history of the Olympic Games.

We never imagined the impact they would have not the 25 laps we ran during the test, but above all number 26. It was unexpected”, reflects Meyer, of white race, representative of a South Africa which had just overcome a three-decade veto as a result of the apartheid, which had been abolished just four months before the Games by referendum. After crossing the finish line in second position, awarded the silverran for the Ethiopian Tulu, who had just won the first gold of all time for a black African athlete.

Meyer and Tulu pose before the flag with which the South African ran the lap of honour, again at the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc.


Meyer and Tulu pose before the flag with which the South African ran the lap of honour, again at the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc.Joan

Of his embrace against racism and as a celebration of Africa, Tulu points out that “it was a very happy moment. That had an impact on later generations.. The lap of honor was the most significant of all. It wasn’t planned as an Africa win, but it was., for a whole demonstration of friendship”, adds the Ethiopian. And that they were not previously known. And they didn’t even understand each other, because Tulu doesn’t speak English. “With smiles we communicate better than with words”, he explains, in a joint act in the Olympic and Sports Museum.

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And there, in that corner of the mountain of Montjuicwill rest from now on the flag that Meyer wore in that historic lap of honour, with the Olympic rings and the incipient colors of the new South African flag. She herself, accompanied by her husband and her two children, aged 15 and 12, has decided to donate it personally by surprise.

As Mandela said, sport has the power to change the world”, proudly proclaims the current CEO of endurocadan academy that provides opportunities for young South African athletes, and who met ‘Madiba’ days before his silver, when he had barely been released from the hell of Robben Island for two and a half years, before he was president of the country for three years of the Springgoks Rugby World Cup.

“Mandela visited the Olympic village and gave us all his inspiration. The team was not very well prepared. We feel all your energy. After the Games, I had the chance to meet him many times. He was a exceptional human being”, he reviews, while Tulu, who at 50 years old presides over the Ethiopian athletics federation, nods. Like the hug between Jesse Owens and Lutz Long in Berlin-36, the one between Elartu Tulu and Elana Meyer will endure over time. And even more so if every 30 years they meet again to send their powerful message to the world.

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