How popular is the baby name Keino in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Keino.
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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?)
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 KipchogeKeino‘s names — both first and last — didn’t enter the U.S. baby name data until ’72:
Boys named Kipchoge
Boys named Keino
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 — whose full name is actually Hezekiah Kipchoge 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.