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Olympic spotlight: Ous Mellouli

Ous Mellouli takes a break from training. (PhotoClaudia Melendez)

Ous Mellouli, the world’s reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalist in the 1500-meter freestyle and a former NCAA champion and All-American at USC, will represent Tunisia at the London Summer Olympics.

Mellouli will compete in the 400- and 1500-meter freestyle as well as in the marathon swimming 10k race.

In his second year as a graduate swimming coach with the Trojans, Mellouli graduated from USC in 2007 with a degree in computer engineering and computer science from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

As a freshman in 2003, Mellouli proved to be an immediate force for the Trojans, establishing himself as one of the top swimmers in the country. He earned a team-high five All-American honors, three individually and two on relays, at the NCAA.

Mellouli made his Olympic debut for Tunisia in 2000. Eight years later in Beijing, he became the first person to defeat Australia’s Grant Hackett in the 1500 meter in 11 years, winning the gold medal for Tunisia’s first-ever swimming Olympic title. Mellouli won the gold despite battling two herniated disks in his back that limited his training leading up to the games.

In 2009, Mellouli, swimming for his native Tunisia, became the second-fastest person ever in the 1500-meter freestyle when he won the gold medal at the World Championships in 14:37.28. He added to his gold by winning silver medals in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle.

Mellouli remained among the world’s top swimmers in 2010. His season was capped by four medals at the 2010 Short Course World Championships in Dubai, including a gold in the 1500-meter freestyle.

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Olympic spotlight: Ous Mellouli

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