Ous adds open water gold to his collection
LONDON - Reuters
Oussama ‘Ous’ Mellouli holds a Tunisian flag and pose for photographers after winning gold medal at the men’s 10km swimming marathon at the Olympics. AP photoOussama ‘Ous’ Mellouli holds a Tunisian flag and poses for photographers after winning a gold medal in the men’s 10km swimming marathon at the Olympics.
Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli won the gold medal in the men’s swimming marathon at the London Olympics on Aug. 10 to become the first swimmer to get medals in the pool and open water.
Mellouli won the 1,500 metres freestyle gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and used his superior speed to burst clear of his rivals and win the gruelling 10-kilometre race in the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park.
“I can’t explain it, I can’t really describe it,” Mellouli said after pumping his chest when he finished.
“I don’t think this has ever been done before. I’m a pretty solid guy and I never react but you saw that reaction, that says it all.”
Germany’s Thomas Lurz won the silver medal and Richard Weinberger of Canada the bronze but no-one could keep up with the 28-year-old Mellouli after he charged into the lead on the fifth of the six loops.
He quickly opened up a three-body-length lead over the chasing pack to win gold in 1:49:55.1.
“I’ve been struggling, with my shoulder, my elbow, I had a virus. What happened today is a miracle if you believe in miracles,” Mellouli said. “This thing just hurts. You’re in pain. Once you hit a wall you just keep pushing, when you hit a wall again you keep pushing.”
A national hero in his homeland, Mellouli became his country’s first double gold medallist.
He also won the world championship for 800 meters in 2007 but was stripped of his title and banned from competing for 18 months after testing positive for amphetamines in late 2006. Mellouli, who was a student at the University of Southern California at the time of the offense, said he had taken an Adderall pill two days before he tested positive so he could stay awake to finish a university assignment.