Ous Mellouli Announces Surprise Retirement Days Before 6th Olympic Games

Tunisian swimmer Ous Mellouli, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has announced his retirement from competitive swimming just days before he was scheduled to compete in his 6th Olympic Games.

Mellouli was scheduled to race the open water 10km event at the World Championships after finishing 10th in the final qualifying event in Setubal, Portugal in June. That’s significant because those races are limited to 25 entrants, so Mellouli’s scratch means the race will be one short – at 24 entrants – of the allowed field.

Had Mellouli declined his spot sooner, Sweden’s Elliot Sodemann, who was 14th at the Olympic Marathon Qualifier event, would have been in line to receive that spot.

Mellouli was not entered in any pool races for Tokyo.

The retirement comes amid a dispute with the Tunisian Swimming Federation, Mellouli, and his mom.

The federation has accused the 37-year old Mellouli and his mother Khadija Mellouli of forgery.

The accusations revolve around funding that Ous Mellouli receives from the national federation to continue his training. As part of the arrangement, Mellouli sends invoices to the federation to justify the payments.

At some point, that relationship went south when the national federation began to doubt these invoices and accused Mellouli and his mother of forgery.

Ous Mellouli initially said that he had been summoned to court in the matter 2 weeks ahead of the Olympic Games, interrupting his travel plans. Later, however, the Ministry of Youth and Sport said in a statement that because his mother is the complainant in the case, Ous’ presence was optional.

Nonetheless, Ous Mellouli says that he will retire from international competition anyway.

“After a month of ordeal, I lose all hope of reconciliation or of winning my case. So I decided to retire from international competitions and boycott the Tokyo Games,” Mellouli said on Instagram in French.

Mellouli won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in the 1500 meter free in the pool, and at the 2012 Olympics he added a gold medal in the open water 10km race and a bronze in the 1500 free. That made him the first swimmer to win medals in both open water and the pool in a single Olympics.

He studied computer science while racing collegiately at USC in the United States.

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Daaaave
1 month ago

Sad, and more to the story I suspect. Ous will remain a legend in any event I hope.

Mike
Reply to  Daaaave
1 month ago

Drug cheats are not legends

Michael Andrew vs. Covid
Reply to  Mike
1 month ago

I agree!

Drug cheats are NEVER legend.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Michael Andrew vs. Covid
1 month ago

Just needed a TUE to say he could not concentrate .

CasualSwimmer
Reply to  Mike
1 month ago

Would you say the same about Lochte ?

Mike
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
1 month ago

Indeed I would and I also say the same about Sun Yang. These swimmers have made some very foolish choices, they are proven drug cheats and therefore lose the right to legend status. Don’t get me wrong, Lochte, Sun Yang, Mellouli et. al. have great accomplishments spanning many years, they are just not legends because of their tainted records.

Patrick Nunan
1 month ago

Too bad, he is an awesome swimmer. Would like to see what he could do at age 37!

GrameziPT
1 month ago

It’s a shame that probably the 10k will only have 24 men. By boycotting so near the games probably there’s no way that a federation can take another swimmer to fill the gap. Who would have qualified?

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

Who cares. OW is full of cheats. Both the Mens and Womens had major issues in Rio. Ous was involved in one of the incidents if I remember correctly. They should stagger the start like in cycling time trials.

Comet
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

💯

Caeleb’s left suit string
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

I never heard about this, what happened?

swimapologist
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

YEAH! Then they should only allow them to do the races in perfectly-still water, like in a controlled rowing basin, so that athletes don’t have an advantage by their start time.

And they should control the water temperature to 78 degrees!

Maybe they could run multiple swimmers at the same time to make it more efficient. And put some kind of floating rope-like devices between them to make sure there’s no interaction.

Probably should shrink the course and just do more laps of said shorter course so you can put officials at each end and on either side. Would also help to make it more popular if you moved it inside an arena with stands all around the body of… Read more »

dresselgoat
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

You’re the worst.

NOT the frontman of Metallica
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

I care, I think its really shitty of him to have occupied a spot just to throw it away up until now

Human Ambition
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

Elliot Sodemann of Sweden was 3 tenths out of the invite in Setúbal when Ous qualified. He also “was an Olympian for an hour” before a protest corrected the result list.

NOT the frontman of Metallica
Reply to  Human Ambition
1 month ago

THIS is what I mean with my comment further down.
Can you confirm if this would theoretically mean Elliot would be qualified or would the continental spots mean its the next African swimmer who would get it?

Human Ambition
Reply to  NOT the frontman of Metallica
1 month ago

It is not the easiest qualification procedure to get a grip on. Ous didn’t take the continental slot. Philip Seidler did. If scratching Ous from the results, Elliot would get the European slot.

When the russian girl got denied in 2016, she qualified in Kazan 2015, and the eleventh there place Olasz got the invitation. But since Ous qualified at the second qualification race, the first one out in that race would be in line.

Dan
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

The article at this time says Sweden’s Elliot Sodemann,

FST
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 month ago

That’s the point of a boycott, I guess. Nobody would care if they’d have time to just fill the slot with someone else. This way, it’ll be talked about by the commentators.

Joel Lin
1 month ago

He leaves the sport as the only swimmer male or female to win gold in the pool & also in the open water. He won gold in the open water and a medal in the pool at the same Olympiad, the first to accomplish that feat.

Trojan, World champion, Olympic champion. There isn’t anything Ous didn’t do in the sport. He will be missed. The King is gone, long live the King from Marseille

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

Well said. He was very good.

Coach Johnson
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

Understand this he motivated me too work hard at practice

Brownish
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

The second one can be Wellbrock.

Coach Johnson
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

Thank you for your kind email.
Ous was my mentor.
I learned a lot from him.
People on here shouldn’t say thing’s. Negative about any swimmer.
It’s was The Best example to me.
The team.
I miss you Ousamma

Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

I mean what amount of dineros are we talking here with these invoices?

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 month ago

I was really looking forward to seeing him in his 6th olympics.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
1 month ago

I heard it was going to be his 6th Olympics.

Deepblue
1 month ago

Probably the most unique career I’ve ever seen for such a high-level swimmer. Legend in his own right.

P Laughlin
1 month ago

I was a timer at a meet a few years back in Fullerton, he was in my lane and I was astonished at his strength and speed. After the first 100 he just left everyone behind.

Coach Johnson
Reply to  P Laughlin
1 month ago

That’s. Ousamma

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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