The men’s Olympic marathon swim gold medalists are quite remarkable.

First there was Maarten van der Weijden who won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Not only was his athletic victory dramatic, so too was his life story. van der Weijden remains the only Olympic gold medalist in history to have captured gold after recovering from leukemia.

Soon after, he retired and left the sport on top with a fabulous legacy.

Dial forward to 2012 and another remarkable Olympic marathon swim champion, Oussama Mellouli, has made history…and similarly announced his retirement.

After his brilliant strategy and dominant victory in today’s 10K, he explained himself to the media. “There is no way I can top this achievement today. Only those close to me know how much I struggled to get here today. I struggled for three years with my shoulder and not having the training that I really wanted to … I have no regrets to leave it all behind and enjoy life.”

Additionally, Mellouli knows his exploits have a positive impact on his homeland. “As a country [Tunisia] has been through a lot in the last couple of years. I hope that every Tunisian will turn on their TV, look at my success, be happy and [I hope that it] brings them some joy and some pride.”

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source