53When Alain Mimoun of France won the Olympic Marathon in the 1956 Melbourne Games, he waited for Emil Zatopek, who had beaten him in every Olympic race he had ever run before. When Zatopek finally appeared, in sixth place, Mimoun said to him, "Emil, why don't you congratulate me? I am an Olympic champion. It was I who won."
Mimoun describes Zatopek's reaction: "Emil turned and looked at me as if he were waking from a dream. Then he snapped to attention. Emil took off his cap — that white painting cap he wore so much — and he saluted me. Then he embraced me."
Alain Mimoun sheds tears when he speaks of it. "Oh, for me," he said, "that was better than the medal."
Then Mimoun informed Zatopek that he had more good news for his friend. Mimoun had two days earlier become the proud father of a baby boy.