[dehai-news] (Uwbadgers.com) Celebrate Black History: Simon Bairu

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Mar 02 2009 - 09:34:06 EST


*Celebrate Black History: Simon Bairu*

Madison, Wis.

In honor of Black History month, the University of Wisconsin athletic
department will celebrate the stories of 28 former African-American
student-athletes or coaches, one for each day in the month of February. (see
table updated daily)

The UW athletic program launched its “Celebrate UW’s Black History” section
on UWBadgers.com in 2003. It has been updated every year with new
information, a photo gallery and multimedia offerings and is one of the
finest college resources for African-American athletics history in the
Today we celebrate former national champion track All-American Simon Bairu.

Bairu is the most successful UW cross country runner ever, winning two
individual NCAA championships and leading the Badgers to the 2005 team

The Regina, Sasketchewan, native won the 2004 and 2005 NCAA individual
championships and was named the U.S. Track and Cross Country Coaches
Association athlete of the year. In addition to one NCAA team title, the
Badgers also finished second three times during Bairu’s seasons.

Wisconsin also won all four Big Ten Conference titles during Bairu’s tenure
as he claimed conference individual titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005, only the
second three-time league champion in UW history. He was also honored as the
Big Ten Cross Country Athlete of the Year three times.

Bairu was a seven-time All-American in track and cross country. He also won
one Big Ten title in the 10,000 meters and set the UW record in that event.

While he grew up in Canada, Bairu’s roots are in northern Africa. His father
is from Eritrea and his mother is from Ethiopia. His parents fled the war
between the two countries and Simon was born in Saudi Arabia as his family
was moving to Greece. The family lived in Greece for three years before
moving to Regina when Simon was almost four years old.

Bairu, who is a four-time Canadian cross country champion, continues to
compete and is looking to move up the marathon in the future.

Diane Nordstrom


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