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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Consider Ous Mellouli One Of History's Greatest

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

As we gaze in the open water crystal ball, we foresee 2-time Olympic champion Ous Mellouli continue to train well. If he remains healthy and motivated, it is highly likely he will enter the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as the prohibitive favorite in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.

Of course, it is still early to make definite predictions and many things can happen until August 2016, but Mellouli is swimming well and confidently. He seems to be setting himself up for another golden Olympic campaign in the Rio de Janeiro course on Copacabana Beach.

If Mellouli does win the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in 2016, we believe he should go down in history as the greatest Olympic distance swimmer in history. With a gold in the 1500m freestyle in 2008, a silver in the 1500m freestyle and a gold in the 10 km in 2012, a gold medal in 2016 would put him up favorably against the greatest Olympic distance freestylers in history:

* Vladimir Salnikov (Russian: Владимир Валерьевич Сальников) set 12 world records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle who won 3 Olympic gold medals in the 400m and 1500m in 1980 and 1500m in 1988.

* Australian Murray Rose was a 6-time Olympic medalist (4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) who held the world records in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle (long course) and won gold in the 400m and 1500m.

* Australian Grant Hackett won the 1500m at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and a silver in the 400m, remained undefeated from 1996 to 2007 in the 1500m and held world records in the 200m, 800m and 1500m freestyles.

* American Michael Burton was a 3-time Olympic champion and world record holder: 2 golds in 1968 (400m and 1500m) and 1 gold in 1972 (1500m).

* Australian Kieren Perkins won 2 Olympic golds in 1992 and 1996 in the 1500m freestyle and a silver in the 2000 Olympic 1500m.

A gold in 2016 would mean that Mellouli would have 3 golds in Olympic final swims at least 1500m in distance including 2 difficult 10 km races: one in a man-made lake and one in a dynamic Atlantic Ocean. It would be one of the greatest distance freestyle legacies in Olympic history and arguably the most difficult to attain.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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