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TunisiaTunisia, TUN
Open water


Further Personal Information

Date of birth
16 February 1984
192 cm
United States
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, and would go to 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

Ous, The Tunisian Torpedo, The Shark of Mediterranean. (Instagram profile, 11 Feb 2020;, 11 Mar 2018;, 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. (, 18 Jul 2018)
Hero / Idol
US boxer Muhammad Ali. (, 02 Aug 2015)
He sustained a left shoulder injury during the 2017/18 season. (, 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;, 12 Jul 2017)

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

His training was disrupted ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games because of a double slipped disc in his back. (FINA Aquatics World Magazine, 01 Mar 2010)
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. (, 24 May 2018)

Her served as Tunisia's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (, 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 of the 12th Arab Games held in Qatar. (, 22 Dec 2011;, 22 Dec 2011)

He was named Tunisian Sportsperson of the Year in 2003 and 2004. (, 30 Nov 2010)
Other sports
He represented Tunisia in swimming at five consecutive editions of the Olympic Games between 2000 and 2016, winning gold in 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Games in Beijing. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)
He was the first male swimmer from Africa to win an individual swimming gold medal at the Olympic Games, triumphing in the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Games in Beijing. He then became the first athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in both swimming and open water swimming, claiming victory in the 10km open water swimming event four years later in London. He also competed in swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, winning bronze in the 1500m freestyle to become the first swimmer to claim medals in both open water and pool swimming at the same edition of the Olympic Games. (SportsDeskOnline, 02 Jun 2018;, 04 Jun 2013;, 10 Aug 2012;, 17 Jul 2012)

He became the first Tunisian swimmer, male or female, to win an individual swimming gold medal at the world championships when he claimed victory in the 1500m freestyle at the 2009 edition in Rome, Italy. He also became the first Tunisian athlete to win a world title in open water swimming when he was victorious in the 5km at the 2013 edition in Barcelona, Spain. (SportsDeskOnline, 10 Mar 2020)
To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (, 12 Aug 2019)
Other information
He plans to retire from swimming after competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He says he will compete at the Games despite concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. "I will be careful asking my parents to travel if I do qualify, and I am going to be concerned about my health personally. But I am sure the IOC [International Olympic Committee], NOC's [National Olympic Committee] and organising committee in Japan will take necessary steps to make these Olympics a great comeback for humanity to get back together. It will be my goodbye, my farewell." (, 26 Jul 2020)

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 in business administration and finance at Essex Business School in Colchester, England. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2018)

In November 2006 he tested positive for a banned stimulant 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. (, 30 Nov 2010;, 16 Aug 2008)