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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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Alain Mimoun (FRA)

It was at the 1956 Games in Melbourne that French runner Alain Mimoun finally became Olympic champion, winning gold in the marathon. A friend and rival of the great Emil Zatopek, he had finished second three times in Olympic races behind the “Czech locomotive”: in the 10,000m at the 1948 Games in London, then in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the 1952 Games in Helsinki
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Triumphant Return

French runner Alain Mimoun is chaired by fellow athletes on his arrival at Orly from Australia, where he won the gold medal for the marathon at the Melbourne Olympics, 9th December 1956. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Zatopek And Mimoun

Emil Zatopek (1922 - 2000) of Czechoslovakia (left) is congratulated by Alain Mimoun O'Kacha of France after winning the 5,000 metres at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Mimoun came second. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
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Helsinki 1952-ZATOPEK Emil (TCH) 1st, ahead of MIMOUN O'KACHA Alain (FRA) 2nd and SCHADE Herbert (GER) 3rd.
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Helsinki 1952-ZATOPEK Emil (TCH) 1st, MIMOUN O'KACHA Alain (FRA) 2nd, PIRIE Douglas A. Gordon (GBR) 7th.


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