Alain Mimoun

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Alain Mimoun (2001)

Alain Mimoun (* 1. January 1921 in El Telagh , French North Africa , as Ali Mimoun Ould Kacha ; † 27. June 2013 in Saint-Mande , Ile-de-France ) was a French long-distance runners of Algerian origin and Olympic champion in the marathon .


He grew up as a shepherd's son in an Algerian Berber village . When he joined the French colonial army in 1939, he gave himself the first name Alain. During World War II he fought in Italy, where he narrowly escaped a leg amputation after being injured by a grenade.

After the war ended, he became a waiter in the café of the Racing Club de France , where his running career began. He was eight times French champion over 5000 meters and twelve times over 10,000 meters . At the European Championships in Brussels in 1950 , he won the silver medal over 5000 and 10,000 meters behind Emil Zátopek .

At the Olympic Games he was initially denied a victory. Three times, over 5000 meters at the 1948 Games in London and over 5000 and 10,000 meters at the 1952 Games , Mimoun had to be satisfied with the silver medal behind his fiercest rival, the Czech Emil Zátopek. Despite the sporting rivalry, Zátopek and Mimoun were close friends. For the last time both competed at the end of their sporting careers in the marathon competition of the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956 .

The race took place on a very hot day, which caused problems for Zátopek, already handicapped by injuries, while Mimoun, who ran his very first marathon, seemed comfortable in temperatures above 30 ° C and at 25 km from the rest of the field discontinued. After 2:25:00 h, Mimoun was the first to cross the finish line. There he waited for his friend Emil Zátopek, who finished sixth, completely exhausted by the extreme heat. Mimoun asked Zatopek: “Emil, don't you congratulate me? I am the Olympic champion. ” Then Mimoun and Zátopek hugged. Mimoun later called this moment more valuable than his gold medal.

After this victory, Mimoun continued his career. At the age of almost 40, he was once again on the French team for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome . In 1966 Mimoun became the French marathon champion for the sixth time. In the same year he ran the 10,000 meters in 30: 16.8 minutes - the third fastest time worldwide in the M 45 age group to date.

Mimoun was named Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and voted "French Athlete of the Century". Over 50 sports facilities in France were named after him. In 1949 and 1956 he was voted France's Sportsman of the Year (“ Champion des champions ”) by the sports newspaper L'Équipe . In 1999 he was named France's Athlete of the Century.


Web links

Individual evidence

  2. Mimoun, un champion français (obituary; French)
  5. cf. Alain Mimoun . In: Internationales Sportarchiv 39/2010 from September 28, 2010 (accessed via Munzinger Online )