Emmanuel Kipkirui Korir shot to prominence during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when he delivered one of his best performances to successfully defend the title won by his compatriot David Rudisha in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
People know very little about him, despite his recent stellar performances. Korir's epic journey to stardom is explored in depth by Homekazi.co.ke.
Korir was born in Iten, Elgeyo/Marakwet County, on June 15, 1995. After finishing primary school, he was admitted to St Francis High School Kimuron, which has produced other champions such as reigning 800m world record holder David Rudisha.
The foundation for Korir's career was laid at Kimuron High School.
He used to train with other aspiring runners while at school. Because he came from a nearby village, he would pitch camp at St Patrick's High School Iten during the school holidays to hone his skills under the tutelage of renowned athletics coach Brother Colm O'Connell.
After completing his secondary education, the 2018 Monaco Diamond League 800m champion will travel to the United States. He enrolled at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he recently earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology (the study of movement).
Korir used to compete in the 400m race at the University of Texas.
He set several distance records before being persuaded to switch to the 800m by former Kenyan runner Paul Ereng. Ereng, who won a gold medal in the 800m for Kenya at the 1988 Olympics, began his career as a 400m runner.
Ereng stated in 2018 about the newly crowned champion that Korir needed time to mature.
"He's getting older and wiser. Last year was his first high-level international race. He came back strong, but he was disappointed to be injured."
"I gave him a shock, but I told him that in sports, these things happen, and that he needs to work himself back into shape and do it again." Ereng stated to the Daily Nation.
His first competitive race in Kenya was at the 2016 Kenya championships, where he finished eighth. Despite his disappointment, Korir continued to train hard.
A few years later, he was named to Kenya's Olympic team for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games. Korir defeated the race's bigwigs, including teammate Ferguson Rotich, to win Kenya an 800m gold medal in Tokyo.
Korir was one of only a few Kenyan athletes to win a gold medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships. He ran a calculated race, allowing his main rival, Canada's Marco Arop, to lead for the majority of the race before outpacing him in the final 150m to win Kenya's second gold medal at the championships held in Eugene, Oregon.