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Alain Mimoun

Full name: Alain (Ali-) Mimoun Ould Kacha
Nickname(s): Alel
Gender: Male
Height: 5-6.5 (170 cm)
Weight: 123 lbs (56 kg)
Born: January 1, 1921 in Le Telagh, Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria
Died: June 27, 2013 in Champigny-sur-Marne, Val-de-Marne, France
Affiliations: Racing Club de France, Paris (FRA)
Country: FRA France
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold, 3 Silver (4 Total)

Biography

One of the best distance runners after the Second World War, Alain Mimoun had the misfortune to compete in the same era as the great Emil Zátopek. Born in Algeria, then a part of France, Alain Mimoun was drafted into the French Army at the outbreak of the War, and fought in France, North Africa, Italy, and in the invasion of southern France of 1944. Despite the war, he had been able to pick up running, and after the liberation Mimoun worked as a waiter at the Racing Club de France in Paris, for which he also competed. After winning the first of his 29 French national titles in 1947, Alain Mimoun first competed in the Olympics in 1948. Still fairly unknown, Mimoun collected a silver medal in the 10,000 m, being the first of two runners not lapped by the overwhelming winner, Zátopek. The Czechoslovakian "Locomotive" would also finish ahead of Mimoun in the 1950 European Championships (5,000 and 10,000 m) and the 1952 Olympics (again 5,000 and 10,000 m). In the International Cross Country Championships (precursor of the World Championships), Zátopek did not compete, and Mimoun won the event four times (1949, 1952, 1954, 1956), finishing second twice. But Mimoun's ultimate moment of glory came in 1956. Making his début in the marathon, he dominated the Olympic race in Melbourne, leading from the start and winning by 1 minute 32 seconds. Zátopek, not in top shape, finished sixth. In his wonderful book, All That Glitters is Not Gold, William Oscar Johnson relates the story as told to him by Mimoun. When he finished he waited for Zátopek to arrive. When he did, he did not at first acknowledge Mimoun, being in some distress. Mimoun then told him, "Emil, it was I who won." Zátopek then turned around and saluted Mimoun, his close friend. Telling the story years later, Mimoun noted, "Oh, for me that was better than the medal." Mimoun would make one more Olympic appearance, coming 34th in the marathon in 1960. In addition to the aforementioned prizes, Mimoun also won four gold medals in the Mediterranean Games. His last French marathon title came in 1966, winning his sixth title in that event, a record that remains unbeaten.

Personal Bests: 5000 – 14:07.58 (1952); 10000 – 29:13.4 (1956); Mar – 2-21:25 (1958).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1948 Summer 27 London Athletics Men's 5,000 metres France FRA 6 h3 r1/2
1948 Summer 27 London Athletics Men's 10,000 metres France FRA 2 Silver
1952 Summer 31 Helsinki Athletics Men's 5,000 metres France FRA 2 Silver
1952 Summer 31 Helsinki Athletics Men's 10,000 metres France FRA 2 Silver
1956 Summer 35 Melbourne Athletics Men's 10,000 metres France FRA 12
1956 Summer 35 Melbourne Athletics Men's Marathon France FRA 1 Gold
1960 Summer 39 Roma Athletics Men's Marathon France FRA 34

Men's 5,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A)
1948 Summer 27 London Athletics France Round One Heat Three 6 15:11.2
1952 Summer 31 Helsinki Athletics France Final 2 14:07.4 14:07.58
1952 Summer 31 Helsinki Athletics France Round One Heat One 1 QU 14:19.0 14:19.15

Men's 10,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H)
1948 Summer 27 London Athletics France Final Standings 2 30:47.4
1952 Summer 31 Helsinki Athletics France Final Standings 2 29:32.8
1956 Summer 35 Melbourne Athletics France Final Standings 12 30:18.0

Men's Marathon

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1956 Summer 35 Melbourne Athletics France Final Standings 1 2-25:00
1960 Summer 39 Roma Athletics France Final Standings 34 2-31:20.0
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