How popular is the baby name Kipchoge in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Kipchoge.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kipchoge


Posts that Mention the Name Kipchoge

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

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As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

The Three Olavis

olavi, running, finland, name
The three record-breaking Olavis (July 11, 1957)

While reading about the 1,500-metre run for yesterday’s post on Kipchoge Keino, I discovered an interesting name-related fact: In the summer of 1957, three Finnish runners named Olavi (pronounced OH-lah-vee) — all running the same 1,500m race in Turku — all broke the 1,500m world record.

The record had been 3 minutes and 40.6 seconds, set by a Hungarian runner (named István) in 1956.

The photo-finish winner of the Finnish race was Olavi Salsola, with a time of 3:40.2. In second was Olavi Salonen, who technically finished with the same time. In third was Olavi Vuorisalo, who (at 3:40.3) was just a tenth of a second behind the first two Olavis.

The new record didn’t last long, though, because the very next day a Czechoslovakian runner (named Stanislav) clocked in at 3:38.1.

The Finnish name Olavi, which popped up in the U.S. data a handful of times in the 1910s and 1920s, is a form of Olaf, which evolved from an Old Norse name comprised of the elements anu, meaning “ancestor,” and leifr, meaning “descendant.”

Do you like the name Olavi? (Do you think it might be a good substitute for the trendy name Oliver?)

Sources: Three Finnish Runners All Break World Record for 1,500 Meters at Turku, 1500 metres world record progression – Wikipedia, Olaf – Behind the Name

How did Kipchoge Keino influence baby names?

baby name, olympics, 1972, keino, kipchoge
Kipchoge “Kip” Keino, 1972

Kenyan middle- and long-distance runner Kipchoge Keino (pronounced kip-CHOH-gay KAY-noh) won a total of four medals at two different Summer Olympics: the 1968 Games in Mexico City and the 1972 Games in Munich.

Kip Keino’s most memorable race was his unlikely win in the 1,500 metre in ’68, but Kipchoge Keino‘s names — both first and last — didn’t enter the U.S. baby name data until ’72:

Year# Kipchoges# Keinos
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
x
x
7 baby boys [debut]
x
x
9 baby boys
13 baby boys
19 baby boys [debut]
x
x

He won a gold and a silver in ’72, but a more important factor (in terms of baby names) may have been the naming climate in the U.S. in the early ’70s. A growing number of African-Americans were actively looking for African baby names at that time. (Check out this Names from Africa post for more.)

The name Kipchoge, a one-hit wonder in the data, means “born near the store for maize” in the Nandi language.

After retiring from competition, Kip Keino continued to work in sports. In the meanwhile, he and his wife Phyllis took in more than 100 orphaned children (and had seven of their own).

Each child has been given a name in English and Nandi, Kip’s native tongue. They include Claire/Cherop (“born when it’s raining”), Angela/Chepngetrik (“born when the cows go grazing”) and Susan/Chepchirchir (“born in a big hurry”).

For this and other humanitarian work, Keino has been honored in various ways, such as by winning the (very first) Olympic Laurel in 2016.

Sources:

P.S. Two other people who have inspired dual first-and-last name debuts are Cyd Charisse and Pier Angeli.