When Ethiopian, Feyisa Lilesa, raised his arms in an “X” above his head when crossing the finish line of the Olympic marathon in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, few non-Ethiopians knew what his gesture signified. Lilesa was demonstrating solidarity with Oromo protestors in Ethiopia who were contesting land dispossession and police and government brutality. Thereafter, Lilesa sought asylum in the U.S., and Ethiopia launched into a State of Emergency. Many cited Lilesa as a hero, bringing awareness and scrutiny to ethnic and economic political injustices throughout Ethiopia, and saw his protest as a catalyst for two years of tensions, which ended with a change in governmental leadership. This chapter thinks through the possibilities and limitations of a “politics of speed” through athletics. This chapter situates Lilesa’s protest and the response by historicizing a transnational politics, stemming from pan-African movements, in support of the Ethiopian state. It argues that through speed political change can occur, while addressing the inherent structural issues that make it far less possible for those who are not the second-fastest runners in the world to garner similar levels of attention.