Brahim Boutayeb - Morocco - 1988 Olympic Games 10,000m Champion.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 26 September 1988

Click on image to enlarge

      Tuesday, 15 August 1967
      Khemisset, Morocco
  • Morocco
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Brahim BOUTAYEB - Morocco - 1988 Olympic Games 10,000m Champion.


 The victory of 21 year-old Brahim Boutayeb in the 10000m at the Seoul Olympic Games, was one of the most unheralded wins in Olympic history. In fact, few people had heard of Boutayeb prior to his appearance in Seoul. He sent some signal of his rapidly improving talent when he massively improved his personal best at 5000m to 13min 17.47sec at the 1987 Bislett Games in Oslo. However, he only finished 10th in his heat of the 5000m at the 1987 World Championships in Rome and failed to advance to the final. More improvement came at the 1988 Bislett Games on 2 July, when Boutayeb reduced his personal best at 10,000m by over a minute when he finished 5th in a time of 27min 39.12sec.


Despite this improvement, he wasn't expected to be a major threat in the Olympic 10,000m final held at Seoul on 26 September that year. The final at Seoul was started at a cracking pace, pushed along mostly by Kenyans, Kipkemboi Kimeli, and Moses Tanui. A small lead group reached 5000m at world record pace, at which point the unheralded Boutayeb assumed the pace making, continuing to maintain a world record tempo. Boutayeb quickly established an unbeatable lead, and soon after doing so he slowed the pace to just maintain his advantage. Nevertheless when he reached the bell (see photo above) he still had an outside chance for the world record if he could produce a 57 second last lap. Although he increased his pace in the last lap, the world record was never in danger, and in fact Boutayeb slowed considerably just before the line, and virtually walked across the line looking backwards, a gesture estimated to have cost him close to three seconds. Despite this deliberate slowing, his time of 27min 21.46sec was the fourth fastest 10,000m ever run. (Ron Casey)





Brahim Boutayeb had been considered more a 5000m runner before 1988. However, after his gold medal victory in the 10000m at the Seoul Olympic Games, where he clocked the fourth fastest time ever, it seemed that his destiny lay with the longer distance. Although he competed in both events during 1989, Boutayeb concentrated more on the shorter distances, setting personal bests of 13min 12.10sec for 5000m on 25 July, 3min 38.50sec for 1500m on 2 August, and 7min 41.42sec for 3000m on 10 August. He followed this pattern in subsequent years, and though he ran the occasional 10000m, he thenceforth only competed at 5000m in major championships.


His 1990 season was relatively low key, although he had significant victories over the season's leading runners over 5000m in the Grand Prix final at Athens on 7 September, and at Rieti two days later, where he clocked 13min 12.26sec. In 1991, Boutayeb seemed to be at the peak of his form, recording a career best time for 3000m of 7min 38.39sec at Nice on 15 July, and then two days later, another career best time of 13min 10.44sec over 5000m when finishing third at the Golden Gala meet in Rome. Despite these improvements, Boutayeb faced strong opposition in the 5000m at the World Championships in Tokyo on 1 September that year, where he won the bronze medal in the 5000m (see photo above 1st September 1991 © G.H.) behind Kenyan Yobes Ondieki.


In the 5000m at the Barcelona Olympic Games the next year, Boutayeb came fourth in a blanket finish of the first four finishers, only 0.75sec behind the winner. After being eliminated in his heat of the 5000m at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Boutayeb effectively gave competitive athletics away, preferring instead to concentrate on his new sporting interest as a rally driver. (Ron Casey)



3000 Metres       7:48.13         Nice     18 JUL 1994
5000 Metres     13:10.44         Roma   17 JUL 1991
10000 Metres   27:21.46         Seoul    23 SEP 1988