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Friendly rivalry

Algerian-born Alain Mimoun first represented France at the 1948 Olympic Games. In the 10,000m, he finished second behind Emil Zatopek. In 1952, Mimoun again came second in the 10,000m and again it was Zatopek who won. Four days later, Mimoun earned his third silver medal, this time in the 5,000m. The winner? Emil Zatopek.

Better than the medal

For the 1956 Olympic Games, Mimoun switched to the marathon...and faced Zatopek in one last race. This time it was Mimoun who surged ahead just before the halfway mark and pulled away to a minute-and-a-half victory. Mimoun waited at the finish line for his old friend Emil Zatopek, who trotted home in sixth place. "Emil," said Mimoun"...It is I who won." Zatopek took off his cap, saluted Mimoun and embraced him. "For me" Mimoun later recalled, "that was better than the medal".

My career, a castle

Looking back on his Olympic races, Mimoun observed, "I look at my career as a castle: my London silver medal is the foundation; my two Helsinki silver medals are the walls; my gold medal in Melbourne, the roof"




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