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.


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

July 18, 2016


2016 Rome Diamond League

The history of indeterminate sexuality is as old as the Ancient Olympic Games, if you count the (roughly) two and half thousand year old example of Kallipateira who disguised herself as a man in order to coach her son to … Read more

July 13, 2016



As we hove in rapidly towards Rio and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, the interim period, ie July 20-27 marks the 64th anniversary of one of the greatest of Olympic feats – Emil Zátopek winning all three distance races … Read more

April 15, 2016

QUICKSILVER – The Mercurial Emil Zátopek

zatopek for blog

Those of you kind enough and interested enough to read my blog regularly in the past will have noticed that it has diminished almost to vanishing point over the last two years. There are several reasons for this, but the … Read more


Radio is a frequently ignored medium, except for those airwaves transmitting what Noel Coward referred to as ‘the potency of cheap music’. But for those of us of a relatively serious bent – better late than never, I hear the … Read more

July 26, 2015



Zane Branson who, among many other things was a runner, an athlete-manager, and a friend has died, aged 57, of a suspected heart attack in Iten, Kenya on Saturday, July 25. To many people in the athletics business, ‘athlete-manager’ is … Read more