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Oussama MELLOULI
Sport Open Water Swimming
NOC Tunisia   
GenderMen
Born16 Feb 1984 in Al Marsa, TUN
Height1.92 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Arabic, English, French, Italian
Higher education
Computer Engineering, Computer Science - University of Southern California: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at age five at a pool in La Marsa, Tunisia.
Why this sport?
His mother encouraged him to try the sport. "We were a modest family with no tradition of sport whatsoever. My parents to this day can't swim. But my mother wanted us to know how to do it. She saw a child drown one summer and wanted her kids to be able to swim."
Club / Team
Trojan Swim Club: Los Angeles, CA, USA
General Interest
Nicknames
Ous, The Tunisian Torpedo, The Shark of the Mediterranean (Instagram profile, 11 Feb 2020; swimmersdaily.com, 11 Mar 2018; arenainternational.com, 30 Nov 2010)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in swimming [1500m freestyle] at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and claiming gold in open water swimming [10km] at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (ala-une-mag.com, 18 Jul 2018; SportsDeskOnline, 01 Jul 2021)
Hero / Idol
US boxer Muhammad Ali. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 02 Aug 2015)
Injuries
He sustained an injury to his left shoulder during the 2017/18 season. (swimmersdaily.com, 11 Mar 2018)

He withdrew from the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, due to an injury he suffered in training. (Twitter profile, 12 Jul 2017; swimswam.com, 12 Jul 2017)

A shoulder injury disrupted his training ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (theglobeandmail.com, 17 Jul 2012; nbcolympics.com, 06 Jul 2012)

His training was disrupted ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games because of a slipped disc in his back. (FINA Aquatics World Magazine, 01 Mar 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"It's the challenge. That's what we live for. If you're not challenged, there is no point in doing it. So the challenge of proving to myself that I could do it at this age [speaking in 2021] and still be one of the best in the world at what I do, that's what keeps me going." (thenationalnews.com, 19 Feb 2021)
Awards and honours
In 2018 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, United States of America. (leaders.com.tn, 24 May 2018)

He served as Tunisia's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (gettyimages.com, 05 Aug 2016)

He was named the International Swimming Federation [FINA] 2012 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year. (FINA, 04 Jan 2013)

He was named Best Athlete at the 2011 Arab Games in Qatar. (dw.com, 22 Dec 2011; gulfnews.com, 22 Dec 2011)

He received the Tunisian Sportsperson of the Year award in 2003 and 2004. (fanoos.com, 30 Nov 2010)
Other sports
He has represented Tunisia in both swimming and open water swimming. He competed in swimming at five consecutive editions of the Olympic Games between 2000 and 2016, winning gold in the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Games in Beijing. He competed in open water swimming at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, and won gold in the 10km event at the 2012 Games in London. (SportsDeskOnline, 13 Jan 2022)
Milestones
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro he became the first athlete to represent Tunisia in any sport at five editions of the Olympic Games. He was also the first athlete representing Tunisia in any sport to win two Olympic gold medals, following his victories in 10km open water swimming at the 2012 Games and the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London his gold medal in the 10km open water swimming event made him the first athlete from any nation to have won Olympic gold in both swimming and open water swimming, following his 1500m freestyle gold at the 2008 Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London he also won bronze in the 1500m freestyle, making him the first swimmer from any nation to win medals of any colour in both open water and pool swimming at the same edition of the Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)

He became the first swimmer representing Tunisia to win a gold medal in swimming at the world championships when he claimed victory in the 1500m freestyle at the 2009 edition in Rome, Italy. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)

He was also the first swimmer representing Tunisia to win a world championship medal in open water swimming, when he took gold in the 5km event at the 2013 edition in Barcelona, Spain. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 05 Aug 2021)
Other information
POOL TO OPEN WATER
He believes he "opened the door" for more swimmers to transition from pool to open water swimming after he won medals in both sports at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. "There's a lot more than you can imagine that goes into that transition and I'm very honoured and very proud to say that I'm the first swimmer to ever do it [win medals in both sports at the same edition of the Olympic Games]. There was this stigma that pool swimmers cannot make it in open water and I saw that as a cool challenge. I saw that and was like, 'Okay, not a lot of people think this can be done'. So I thought it was awesome to challenge that perception. I think it opened the door for other swimmers to see it as a challenge." (thenationalnews.com, 19 Feb 2021)

FURTHER EDUCATION
He has studied for a master's degree in higher education administration at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, United States of America, as well as a master's degree in business administration and finance at Essex Business School in England. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2021)

SANCTION
In November 2006 he tested positive for the prohibited stimulant Adderall at a competition in the United States of America. The disciplinary commission of the Tunisian Swimming Federation [FTN] concluded that he had not taken the drug to enhance his swimming performance and sanctioned him with a reprimand and warning. In March 2007 the International Swimming Federation [FINA] appealed the FTN's decision and requested a two-year ban. The Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] concluded that the case was one of negligence and he received an 18-month suspension, retroactively beginning on 30 November 2006, and was stripped of his competition results from the date of the incident. The stimulant was developed for treating attention disorders and he claimed that he had used it to help him focus on meeting a tight deadline for his final university assignment. "I think the swimming community knows me. I was just a naive kid that made a genuine mistake. I took a stimulant which is very prevalent on US [college] campuses. The punishment was a little bit unfair but I realised that I could lose the one thing that I care about so much in my life from a silly mistake, so I had to be much more careful." (bbc.com, 26 Jul 2020; tas-cas.org, 30 Nov 2010; grg51.typepad.com, 16 Aug 2008)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 1500m Freestyle 15:07.78
3 2012 London, ENG 1500m Freestyle 14:40.31 
5 2008 Beijing, CHN 400m Freestyle 3:43.45
1 2008 Beijing, CHN 1500m Freestyle 14:40.84
Heats 2008 Beijing, CHN 200m Freestyle 1:47.97
14 2004 Athens, GRE 1500m Freestyle 15:18.98 
5 2004 Athens, GRE 400m Individual Medley 4:14.49 
9 2004 Athens, GRE 200m Individual Medley 2:01.11 
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 1500m Freestyle 15:07.89
8 2013 Barcelona, ESP 800m Freestyle 7:52.79
Heats 2011 Shanghai, CHN 1500m Freestyle 15:13.56
7 2011 Shanghai, CHN 400m Freestyle 3:45.31
4 2011 Shanghai, CHN 800m Freestyle 7:45.99
1 2009 Rome, ITA 1500m Freestyle 14:37.28
2 2009 Rome, ITA 800m Freestyle 7:35.27
2 2009 Rome, ITA 400m Freestyle 3:41.11
  2007 Melbourne, VIC, AUS 800m Freestyle 7:46.95 DSQ
  2007 Melbourne, VIC, AUS 400m Individual Medley 4:11.68 DSQ
  2007 Melbourne, VIC, AUS 400m Freestyle 3:45.12 DSQ
3 2005 Montreal, CAN 400m Freestyle 3:46.08 
3 2005 Montreal, QC, CAN 400m Individual Medley 4:13.47
5 2005 Montreal, QC, CAN 800m Freestyle 7:51.03
Semifinal 2003 Barcelona, ESP 200m Individual Medley 2:01.64
Heats 2003 Barcelona, ESP 200m Freestyle  DNS
Heats 2003 Barcelona, ESP 400m Freestyle 3:52.04
3 2003 Barcelona, ESP 400m Individual Medley 4:15.36
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
  2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 1500m Freestyle DNS
Heats 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 400m Freestyle  DNS
Heats 2014 Doha, QAT 200m Freestyle 1:44.24
2 2014 Doha, QAT 1500m Freestyle 14:18.79
4 2014 Doha, QAT 400m Freestyle 3:39.05
3 2010 Dubai, UAE 400m Freestyle 3:38.17
1 2010 Dubai, UAE 1500m Freestyle 14:24.16
2 2010 Dubai, UAE 400m Individual Medley 3:57.40
3 2010 Dubai, UAE 200m Freestyle 1:42.02
10 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 200m Freestyle 1:47.45
  2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 100m Individual Medley  DNS
9 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 400m Freestyle 3:49.02
1 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 400m Individual Medley 4:07.02
3 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 200m Individual Medley 1:56.23
4 2004 Indianapolis, IN, USA 1500m Freestyle 14:57.57
31 2002 Moscow, RUS 200m Individual Medley 2:03.10
18 2002 Moscow, RUS 1500m Freestyle 15:19.81
17 2002 Moscow, RUS 400m Freestyle 3:49.37
19 2002 Moscow, RUS 200m Freestyle 1:48.00
15 2002 Moscow, RUS 400m Individual Medley 4:14.83
  2000 Athens, GRE 1500m Freestyle  DNS
  2000 Athens, GRE 400m Individual Medley  DNS
  2000 Athens, GRE 400m Freestyle  DNS
World Cup Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
35 2014   Overall  
3 2014 Doha, QAT 400m Individual Medley 4:07.99
3 2014 Doha, QAT 1500m Freestyle 14:51.87
3 2014 Dubai, UAE 400m Individual Medley 4:09.09
24 2013   Overall  
4 2013 Doha, QAT 400m Freestyle 3:42.28
2 2013 Doha, QAT 1500m Freestyle 14:36.46
3 2013 Doha, QAT 400m Individual Medley 4:09.28
4 2013 Dubai, UAE 400m Freestyle 3:43.81
2 2013 Dubai, UAE 400m Individual Medley 4:08.76
2 2013 Dubai, UAE 1500m Freestyle 14:41.79
4 2013 Tokyo, JPN 400m Individual Medley 4:06.69
4 2013 Tokyo, JPN 400m Freestyle 3:43.11
2 2013 Tokyo, JPN 1500m Freestyle 14:38.09
1 2009 Singapore, SGP 400m Individual Medley 4:05.79
1 2009 Singapore, SGP 400m Freestyle 3:39.18
2 2009 Singapore, SGP 1500m Freestyle 14:56.31
6 2008   Overall  
1 2008 Belo Horizonte, BRA 400m Individual Medley 4:17.68
2 2008 Belo Horizonte, BRA 400m Freestyle 3:45.89
1 2008 Belo Horizonte, BRA 1500m Freestyle 15:16.43
1 2008 Belo Horizonte, BRA 200m Freestyle 1:44.58
3 2008 Belo Horizonte, BRA 200m Individual Medley 2:01.59
1 2008 Berlin, GER 400m Freestyle 3:36.75
3 2008 Berlin, GER 100m Individual Medley 53.43
2 2008 Berlin, GER 200m Freestyle 1:42.88
1 2008 Berlin, GER 200m Individual Medley 1:52.41
1 2008 Durban, RSA 400m Individual Medley 4:08.84
1 2008 Durban, RSA 400m Freestyle 3:42.32
2 2008 Durban, RSA 100m Individual Medley 53.90
1 2008 Durban, RSA 200m Freestyle 1:43.62
1 2008 Durban, RSA 200m Individual Medley 1:56.73
1 2008 Durban, RSA 1500m Freestyle 14:54.73
1 2008 Moscow, RUS 400m Individual Medley 4:07.97
1 2008 Moscow, RUS 400m Freestyle 3:40.52
1 2008 Moscow, RUS 1500m Freestyle 14:34.31
1 2008 Moscow, RUS 200m Individual Medley 1:55.10
1 2008 Singapore, SGP 400m Individual Medley 4:02.93
1 2008 Singapore, SGP 400m Freestyle 3:42.37
2 2008 Singapore, SGP 100m Individual Medley 53.12
1 2008 Singapore, SGP 1500m Freestyle 15:06.05
1 2008 Singapore, SGP 200m Freestyle 1:44.47
2 2008 Singapore, SGP 200m Individual Medley 1:53.78
1 2008 Stockholm, SWE 400m Freestyle 3:38.42
1 2008 Stockholm, SWE 100m Individual Medley 52.78
1 2008 Stockholm, SWE 200m Freestyle 1:42.86
1 2008 Stockholm, SWE 200m Individual Medley 1:54.96
1 2008 Sydney, NSW, AUS 400m Individual Medley 4:06.47
1 2008 Sydney, NSW, AUS 400m Freestyle 3:40.49
1 2008 Sydney, NSW, AUS 100m Individual Medley 53.84
1 2008 Sydney, NSW, AUS 200m Freestyle 1:43.05
1 2008 Sydney, NSW, AUS 200m Individual Medley 1:56.30
1 2008 Sydney, NSW, AUS 1500m Freestyle 15:06.23
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
38 2019 Gwangju, KOR 10km 1:50:21.0
23 2015 Kazan, RUS 10km 1:50:50.2
3 2013 Barcelona, ESP 10km 1:49:19.2
1 2013 Barcelona, ESP 5km 53:30.4
African Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 200m Freestyle 1:50.28
3 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 50m Backstroke 26.92
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 400m Individual Medley 4:25.16
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 800m Freestyle 8:20.73
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 100m Freestyle 49.81
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 400m Freestyle 3:58.17
2 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 200m Breaststroke 2:17.57
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 200m Individual Medley 2:06.34
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 1500m Freestyle 16:12.00
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 50m Freestyle 23.26
2 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:57.85
1 2008 Johannesburg, RSA 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:29.79
1 2002 Cairo, EGY 1500m Freestyle 15:53.21
1 2002 Cairo, EGY 200m Freestyle 1:52.79
1 2002 Cairo, EGY 200m Individual Medley 2:05.00
1 2002 Cairo, EGY 400m Freestyle 3:57.88
1 2002 Cairo, EGY 400m Individual Medley 4:26.07
1 2002 Cairo, EGY 800m Freestyle 8:14.34
World Series
Rank Year Venue Event Result
81 2021   10km  
52 2021 Doha, QAT 10km 1:59:43.1
39 2015 San Miguel de Cozumel, MEX 10km 1:43:48.01
11 2012 Cancún, MEX 10km 1:57:32.02
Pan Pacific Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
  2010 Irvine, CA, USA 10km  DNS