The two Ethiopian runners, Haile Gebrselassie and Fyissa Lilesa, said they are ready to go to the front line of the Tigray War against rebel forces.
The announcement of the two Olympic champions comes after the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, said he would go to the front to lead the war.
Rebels in Tigray say they are advancing towards the capital, Addis Ababa.
Germany and France are the latest two countries to advise their citizens to leave Ethiopia, amid an escalation of the civil war.
Jeffrey Feltman, the US envoy to the region, also warned that tentative diplomatic progress to end the conflict was being jeopardized by worrying developments on the ground.
State television quoted the 48-year-old runner Gebreselassie as saying that Abiy’s decision to go to battle “was expected of a leader who loves his country.”
“I am ready to do whatever is asked of me, including going to the front lines,” he added.
Gebreselassie is a legend in Ethiopia, and his comments were seen as an attempt to garner public support for the war effort.
Ghebreyesus had two Olympic gold medals, eight world championship victories and set 27 world records. Before he announced his retirement in 2015, after a 25-year sporting career.
Speaking about his support for the war, the 31-year-old runner Fiesa was quoted by the state broadcaster Fanas website as saying that Abe made the “right decision” by saying he would go to the front lines to confront the rebels.
He added that he was also ready to take inspiration from the “courage of my ancestors” and go to the front lines “to save my country”.
The athlete won a marathon silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The runner was famous for raising his wrists crossed, as if they were tied, to draw global attention to the crackdown on protesters demanding political reforms in Ethiopia.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the dominant party in the government at the time, was forced out of power in 2018 following protests against its 27-year rule, and Abiy Ahmed took over as prime minister.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front withdrew to its stronghold in Tigray and launched a rebellion last November after a major dispute with Abe over reforms.
The war between the two sides resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis, causing thousands of deaths, and forced millions to leave their homes, and hundreds of thousands of people suffered in conditions similar to famine. Relief organizations are making unremitting efforts to obtain food for war-affected areas.
The African Union is leading efforts to reach an agreement to end the fighting, but the two sides have not committed to the talks.
On Tuesday, the German Foreign Ministry urged its citizens to leave the country on the first commercial flights available, and France urged its citizens to leave the country “without delay.”
Meanwhile, an internal UN security document stipulated that “family members of eligible international staff” must be evacuated by 25 November.
The United States and Britain had announced, earlier, the withdrawal of non-essential diplomatic staff, and asked other citizens to leave the country.
Abi Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, had announced in a post on social media, on Monday evening, that he would go to the front to lead the defense forces.
He said, “Those who want to be among the sons of Ethiopia who will be praised by history, rise up for your country today. Join us at the front.”