USC's Ous Mellouli To Serve As Tunisia's Flag Bearer In Rio Opening Ceremonies|
Aug. 5, 2016
USC great Ous Mellouli, set to compete in his fifth Olympics, will be Tunisia's flag bearer in today's opening ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro, making him the 13th Trojan to hold that honor and the eighth from outside the U.S.
Mellouli won Tunisia's first-ever swimming gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with an upset victory in the 1500m free, becoming the first person to defeat Australia's Grant Hackett in the race in 11 years. He won his second gold in the marathon 10K at the 2012 Olympics in London and won a bronze there in the 1500m free. He also competed in the 2000 Sydney Games as well in Athens in 2004.
Mellouli, who graduated from USC with a degree in computer engineering and computer science, was a 16-time All-American for the Trojans and won a 2005 NCAA title in the 400y IM. He also captured seven Pac-10 titles during his four-year Trojan career (2003-06).
USC's 13-swimmer Olympic contingent features Haley Anderson (USA), Dylan Carter (Trinidad and Tobago), Santo Condorelli (Canada), Stina Gardell and Louise Hansson (Sweden), Rebecca Heyliger (Bermuda), Katinka Hosszu (Hungary), Mellouli (Tunisia), Vladimir Morozov (Russia), Cristian Quintero (Venezuela), Amada Weir (USA), Kasia Wilk (Poland) and Tim Wynter (Jamaica).
Trojan swimmers are looking to extend impressive streaks as both the USC men and women have won at least one gold medal in each Olympics since 1996 while the men have won at least one medal in each Games dating back to 1984.
Twelve previous Trojans have carried their countries' flag in the Olympics' opening ceremonies, including 5 for the U.S. The Americans include four in the Summer Games--track thrower Clarence "Bud" Houser in 1928 (the first Trojan to ever carry a flag in an opening ceremony), shot putter Parry O'Brien in 1964, fencer Janice Lee York Romary in 1968 (she was the first woman to carry the U.S. flag in the opening ceremonies and the first Trojan female to carry a flag) and canoeist Cliff Meidl in 2000--and biathlete Lyle Barber Nelson in the 1988 Winter Games (the only Trojan to do so in a Winter Olympics).
Other Trojan flag bearers (all in the Summer Olympics) were high jumper Simeon Toribio for the Philippines in 1936, track thrower Les Mills for New Zealand in 1960 and 1972 (the first Trojan to carry a flag twice), sprinter Lennox Miller for Jamaica in 1972, hurdler Sau Ying Chan for Hong Kong in 1976, sprinter Natasha Mayers for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2004, hurdler Felix Sanchez for the Dominican Republic in 2004 and 2008, and swimmer Orn Arnarson for Iceland in 2008. Sprinter Bryshon Nellum was chosen by the U.S. athlete delegation to carry the American flag in 2012 Games' closing ceremony after winning a silver medal just four years removed from being shot in the leg and told he would never run again.