Ahead of Sixth Olympics, Ous Mellouli Will ‘Boycott’ Tokyo Games, Retire

Ous Mellouli - Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ahead of Sixth Olympics, Ous Mellouli Will ‘Boycott’ Tokyo Games, Retire

Just days before the open of what would have been his sixth Olympics, Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli announced he will “boycott” the Tokyo Games and retire from international competition.

Mellouli announced the decision via social media on Monday. He had been embroiled in a legal battle with the Tunisian swimming federation over allegations of forgery and theft, appearing before a tribunal regarding the case. He said the ordeal, that has lasted months, had no hope of reconciliation, hence his decision end his career instead of competing in the Tokyo Olympics.


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Mellouli is one of the most decorated African swimmers in history and an ambassador for the sport in the Middle East and North Africa. He won gold in the pool in the men’s 1,500 freestyle at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and in open water in the men’s 10-kilometer swim in London four years later. Mellouli also won a bronze medal in the 1,500 free at London 2012. He was set to swim only the 10-kilometer race in Tokyo. (Tunisia will only field one swimmer in the pool, men’s distance freestyler Ahmed Hafnaoui.)

The 37-year-old native of Tunis made his international debut at the 2000 Olympics at the age of 16. He finished fifth in the 400 individual medley at the 2004 Olympics in one of his first major international results. Mellouli has won eight medals (two gold) at long-course World Championships and seven (two gold) at short-course Worlds. His CV includes the mythic haul of 16 medals at the Pan Arab games in 2011 (15 gold and one relay silver).

Ous Mellouli holds African records in the 400, 800 and 1,500 free and the 400 IM, all from the 2009 super-suit era.

Mellouli is no stranger to controversy. The former University of Southern California swimmer was suspended for 18 months for doping in 2006, though he returned for the 2008 Olympics.

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Sneaky Pete
Sneaky Pete
2 years ago

This is like telling the prettiest person at your high school that you’re not going to the prom with him/her.

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