Mellouli adds open water title to bronze in pool
By Andrew Dampf, APLONDON--Open water swimming provided inspiration for Ous Mellouli when he was struggling in the pool.
August 12, 2012, 12:09 am TWN
Now that he's got gold — and become the first swimmer to win medals in both the pool and open water at the same Olympics — he's considering ending his career.
“I don't think there's a better way to go out than this,” the Tunisian said after winning the 10-kilometer marathon race Friday in the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park. “I can just leave it all behind and have no regrets.”
Mellouli took bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle race inside the Olympic Aquatics Centre last week, having won the longest pool event four years ago in Beijing.
But at last year's world championships in Shanghai, Mellouli failed to qualify for the 1,500 final and wasn't even in the pool when China's Sun Yang broke Grant Hackett's 10-year-old world record. His best result in Shanghai was fourth in the 800 free, while he also failed to medal in the 400, finishing seventh.
“I just lost it psychologically,” Mellouli said. “That's when I began thinking about open water. Honestly, I thought my best chance here was the 10K, so for me to go out and win medals in the 1,500 and the 10K is pretty cool.”
The only previous swimmer to win medals in both the pool and open water at the Olympics was David Davies of Britain. He took bronze in the 1,500 at the 2004 Athens Games and silver in the inaugural 10K Olympic race in Beijing.