Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli threw down the gauntlet during the 1500m freestyle final at the Olympic marathon swimming 10km with a bronze-medal effort.

While Thomas Lurz, Spyros Gianniotis and 22 other marathon swimmers are entering in their final taper period, Mellouli will be trying to recover from his 14:40 swim, a bit off his gold medal swim in 2008.

I hope (Tunisians) won’t be disappointed by bronze.

People need to realize how hard it is to get back on the podium after four years and how much work needs to be put out to stay at this level for this kind of competition [behind Sun Yang’s world record of 14:31]. It was an incredible race and I’m really happy to have been part of it. This is Tunisia’s first medal of the games so I hope the people in Tunisia are celebrating.”

Tunisian fans have one more opportunity to possibly celebrate when Mellouli dives into the Serpentine on August 10th.

Judging what he did in the 1500m in the pool, it is going to be tough to keep Mellouli off the top of the Olympic podium. If the pace is pushed in the early parts of the race, Mellouli has the stamina to keep up. If the pace is slow and the race comes down to a final (short) sprint, Mellouli has superior speed. Where the lacks experience, he more than makes it up with stamina and speed – a winning combination in the marathon swimming world.

But no one is handing Mellouli the gold medal yet…he has 10,000 meters to deal with first.

As does Daniel Fogg of Great Britain. Fogg was also in the same 1500m final with Yang and Mellouli where the British crossover athlete finished in a 15:00, 4 seconds off his best time. British fans can expect Fogg to be more of a factor and medal threat in the 10km where he probably will take it out fast. With British colors in the front of the marathon swimming pack, Fogg will undoubtedly be inspired by tens of thousands of British fans ringing the Serpentine.

But no one is handing Mellouli the gold medal yet…he has 10,000 meters to deal with first.

For inside information, real-time analysis and commentary, log into Olympic Marathon Swimming 10km here while watching your local television broadcast on August 9th and 10th.

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