Monograph on Alain Mimoun

The Destiny of Ali Mimoun

As long as he could remember, Alain Mimoun had wanted to be French. In fact, he wanted to be French even more than he wanted to

beat Emil Zátopek, and he couldn't say more than that. In any case, Emil was practically unbeatable. What's more, Emil was his friend. Whereas he, Mimoun had shed blood for France. That was the ultimate bond, the contract, the vouchsafe. Better than any birthright. Ironically, it was in the beating of Emil Zátopek that Alain Mimoun would come closest to his life's ambition.


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Pat Butcher is a writer, journalist, television producer and commentator; and also operates a media service for several top road races around the world.

Although writing occasionally on subjects of general interest, his speciality is track and field athletics.

Pat running in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, early 2008
Pat running in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, early 2008

He first attended the Olympic Games in Munich 1972; and has covered all World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games as writer and/or commentator since 1980.

Please consult the menu for links to a variety of projects, from the highly acclaimed book, The Perfect Distance: Ovett & Coe, The Record Breaking Rivalry; to the television documentaries, Arabian Knight, The Story of Said Aouita and Race For Kenya; to the radio programmes Sport In the Movies and Coe & Ovett in Moscow; to various newspaper, magazine and website articles; and links to the events which he helps publicise across the world.

Unless otherwise accredited, all pictures on this site are from Victah Sailer at

Butcher's Blog

November 15, 2014


KST Electra

Grief is a hard act to conjure, and sustain for well over an hour centre stage; and Kristin Scott Thomas, trying hard to disguise her dainty frame and fine features with a grubby shift and bedraggled hair, is clearly experimenting … Read more

October 29, 2014


Fair Play

If you find yourself in the centre of London early this Sunday evening, November 2, and fancy a glimpse of the world as it was 30 years ago in the Eastern bloc, and as it remains nowadays thoughout the world … Read more

July 11, 2014



A firm disbeliever in daytime TV, I only switched on to check the time of a later football match (honest!), when I chanced on a gorgeous print, as only Technicolor could deliver, of Anthony Asquith’s 1952 version of The Importance … Read more

June 22, 2014



It’s happened before, at least a dozen times, but never so spectacularly. Pacemakers carrying on and winning races was amusing at first, but after a decade or so it got a bit old hat. Well Geoffrey Ronoh snapped the brim … Read more

June 18, 2014


Venus in Fur poster

Roman Polanski must have salivated when he first heard of the 2010 off-Broadway production of David Ives’s play Venus in Fur. Polanski, of course, couldn’t see the original production in person, since he is still subject to an arrest warrant … Read more