Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco)
The 1995 world champion in Gothenburg, Moroccan athlete, Hicham El Guerrouj, suffered a cruel disillusionment at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games when he fell in the 1,500 metres final. In 1997 in Athens, he was the world champion in the same distance. From then on, he asserted himself as the king of the middle distance. On July 14, 1998, El Guerrouj improved the world record of 1,500 metres to 3m:26s. On July 7, 1999, in Rome, he beat the world record for the mile (3m:43:13), and then in August, he retained his world title over the 1,500 metres. In September of the same year, he finished his season with a new world record in Berlin, this time over 2,000 metres (4m:44:79).
In 2001, El Guerrouj was, once again, world champion in the 1,500 metres (3m:30:68). In 2003, in Saint Denis, Paris, the Moroccan athlete retained (once again) his world title of the 1,500 metres (3m:31:77). However, his biggest achievement was in the Olympic Games of Athens in 2004, when he managed a formidable double in the 1,500 and 5,000 metres, a performance that only Finland’s, Paavo Nurmi (1924), had managed to achieve.