Hicham El Guerrouj

From Academic Kids

Missing image
El Guerrouj after winning his second medal in 5000 m, Athens 2004

Hicham El Guerrouj (born September 14, 1974, Berkane, Morocco) is a world record setting middle distance athlete and credited by some as the greatest middle-distance runner of all time as well as the "King of the Mile". He has now moved up to compete in long distance events. In the next athletics season in 2005, he plans to better Kenenisa Bekele's world record of 12min.37sec in the 5000m.

He is the world record holder for the 1,500 metres, the mile and 2,000 metres and is the athlete with the best record in both events in the last decade.

His sporting career is marked by various recognitions such as the award to humanitarian effort from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which he received in 1996. He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. El Guerrouj was named best athlete of the year by the IAAF in 2001 and 2002 after remaining unbeaten in more than 20 races and thus becoming the first man to win athlete of the year titles in consecutive years since the award was created in 1988. Also, in 2002, he was chosen, together with the British athlete, Paula Radcliffe, as best athlete of the year by the prestigious athletics journal Track and Field News. In 2003, he was also top of the world athletics list and was elected as a member of the IAAF Athletes Committee.

On September 7, 2004, Hicham El Guerrouj was decorated with the "Cordon de Commandeur" by King Mohammed VI of Morocco.



Missing image
Receiving the "Premio Principe de Asturias" in Spain- 2004

Hicham El Guerrouj's first international triumph arrived in 1992, when he was third in the 5.000 metres junior World Championships in Seoul. He rose to international prominence in the mid-1990s with near-record times in the 1500 meters and mile. In 1996, he finished a disappointing eighth at the Atlanta Olympics after colliding with Algeria's Nourredine Morceli, who went to win the gold medal.

El Guerrouj later made up for it by winning four consecutive world titles in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003. El Guerrouj broke the world record in the mile set by Noureddine Morceli of Algeria on July 14, 1998, recording a remarkable 3:43.13 and just edging out Noah Ngeny of Kenya who recorded 3:43.40. He lowered the record to its current 3 minutes, 43 seconds at Rome in 1999.

At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, he finished second in the 1500 meters. He won the gold medal in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, running a stunning 1:46 last 800 meters in the 1500 meters to outkick Lagat of Kenya. In the 5,000m, El Guerrouj waited behind Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele until the home straightaway where he sprinted away for a 13:14 win. He became then the first man in 80 years to win both races in the same Olympics, after the "Flying Finn" Paavo Nurmi in 1924.

Hicham El Guerrouj also won 3 consecutive Golden League prizes in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was the only middle distance athlete to achieve the win streak necessary to be entitled for a share of the Jackpot of 50 kilos of gold. Indeed, he is the only athlete to have won it three times in a row.

Winning the Olympics double

For the past decade, Hicham El Guerrouj had been seeking an Olympic gold medal. He collided with Algeria's Nourredine Morceli, who went to win the gold medal, at the last lap in Atlanta's 1500m final before finishing 12th. Between Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, he lost only one race before he was outsprinted by Noah Ngeny of Kenya.

Justice for El Guerrouj had to be made in Athens 2004. He ended eight years of agony as he won the elusive Olympic men's 1,500 and 5,000 metres gold medals.

After winning the 1,500 metres medal, he said:

  • "Its amazing to think that in Sydney I was crying tears of sadness and here I am crying tears of joy. I'm like a five year-old with a toy."
  • "I felt Lagat coming again and again. At one point I thought this was Sydney all over again. He kept coming back at me like an avalanche but when Lagat closed on me for the last time I just found that extra energy."

After winning the 5,000 metres medal, making history after Paavo Nurmi of Finland did the same in 1924, he said:

  • "Paavo Nurmi is a great legend. He is one of the athletes who marked history. He left his name at his point in time. Now, Im able to put my name with his. He is from another time, a time when my grandfather was watching him. To stand alongside him now, how I can I express it? There are no words."
  • "Maybe I will defend my title at the World champonships next year. This year my objective was to win both races at the Olympics in Athens, which is the birthplace of the sport and my birthplace as an athlete. Next year I will move onto the next stage and try to break the 5000m world record. Who knows? Maybe I will be there in 2008 after all, racing against Bekele again at 10,000m."


Missing image
Hicham with the Golden League Prize- 2003

1500 m

Competition Ranking Timing Place Date Title
Olympic Games 1 3:34.18 Athens 24.08.2004 Gold medalist
World Championship 1 3:31.77 Paris 27.07.2003 World Champion
World Championship 1 3:30.68 Edmonton 05.08.2001 World Champion
Olympic Games 2 3:32.32 Sydney 29.09.2000 Silver medalist
World Championship 1 3:27.65 Seville 24.08.1999 World Champion
Grand Prix 1 3:26.00 Rome 14.07.1998 World recordman
World Championship 1 3:35.83 Athens 06.08.1997 World Champion
World Championship Indoor 1 3:35.31 Paris 08.03.1997 World Champion
Grand Prix 1 3:31.18 Stuttgart 02.02.1997 World recordman
World Championship 2 3:35.28 Gothenburg 13.08.1995 Silver medalist
World Championship Indoor 1 3:44.54 Barcelona 11.03.1995 World champion
Missing image
Breaking the Mile record in Rome - 1999


Competition Ranking Timing Place Date Title
World Championship 1 3:43.13 Rome 07.07.1999 World recordman
Grand Prix 1 3:48.45 Gand 12.02.1997 World recordman

2000 m

Competition Ranking Timing Place Date Title
Gran Prix Final 1 4:44.79 Berlin 07.09.1999 World recordman

3000 m

Competition Ranking Timing Place Date Title
World Championship Indoor 1 7:37.74 Lisbon 11.03.2001 World Champion

5000 m

Competition Ranking Timing Place Date Title
Olympic Games 1 13:14.39 Athens 28.08.2004 Gold medalist
World Championship 2 12:52.83 Paris 31.08.2003 Silver medalist

Olympic Winners

Olympic medalists in athletics (men) | Olympic Champions in Men's 1500 m

Teddy Flack | Charles Bennett | Jim Lightbody (twice) | Mel Sheppard | Arnold Jackson | Albert Hill | Paavo Nurmi | Harry Larva | Luigi Beccali | Jack Lovelock | Henry Eriksson | Josy Barthel | Ron Delany | Herb Elliott | Peter Snell | Kip Keino | Pekka Vasala | John Walker | Sebastian Coe (twice) | Peter Rono | Fermn Cacho | Noureddine Morceli | Noah Ngeny | Hicham El Guerrouj

Template:Footer Olympic Champions 5000 m Men

External links

  • [1] (http://www.kingofthemile.com) (unofficial website)
  • [2] (http://www2.iaaf.org/News/articles/20020711hicham-diary.html) El Guerrouj diary at IAAFde:Hicham El Guerrouj

et:Hicham El Guerrouj fr:Hicham El Guerrouj it:Hicham El Guerrouj ja:ヒシャム・エルゲルージ sv:Hicham El Guerrouj


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