The Most Famous

ATHLETES from Morocco

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This page contains a list of the greatest Moroccan Athletes. The pantheon dataset contains 3,055 Athletes, 14 of which were born in Morocco. This makes Morocco the birth place of the 45th most number of Athletes behind Portugal and Nigeria.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Moroccan Athletes of all time. This list of famous Moroccan Athletes is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Moroccan Athletes.

Photo of Saïd Aouita

1. Saïd Aouita (1959 - )

With an HPI of 63.06, Saïd Aouita is the most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages on wikipedia.

Saïd Aouita (Arabic: سعيد عويطة‎; born November 2, 1959) is a former Moroccan track and field athlete. He won the 5000 meters at the 1984 Summer Olympics and the 1987 World Championships in Athletics, as well as the 3000 meters at the 1989 IAAF World Indoor Championships. He is a former world record holder over 1500 metres (3:29.46), 2000 m (4:50.80), 3000 m (7:29.45), and twice at 5000 m (13:00.40 and 12:58.39). He lives in Orlando, Florida.

Photo of Nawal El Moutawakel

2. Nawal El Moutawakel (1962 - )

With an HPI of 60.50, Nawal El Moutawakel is the 2nd most famous Moroccan Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Nawal El Moutawakel (Amazigh: Nawal Lmutawakkil; Arabic: نوال المتوكل‎; born on April 15, 1962) is a Moroccan former hurdler, who won the inaugural women's 400 metres hurdles event at the 1984 Summer Olympics, and was the inaugural female, Muslim, born in Africa, Moroccan to become an Olympic medalist (gold). In 2007, El Moutawakel was named the Minister of Sports in the upcoming cabinet of Morocco.

Photo of Rhadi Ben Abdesselam

3. Rhadi Ben Abdesselam (1929 - 2000)

With an HPI of 60.44, Rhadi Ben Abdesselam is the 3rd most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Rhadi Ben Abdesselam (Arabic: راضي بن عبد السلام‎; 28 February 1929 – 4 October 2000) was a Moroccan long-distance runner. He competed at the 1960 Olympics in the marathon and 10,000 meters events.He also ran in the International Cross Country Championships in 1958–1963. In March 1960, he and Belgium's Gaston Roelants quickly broke away from the field, and he became the first African athlete to win the individual gold medal in that event, defeating Roelants by 40 yards.On September 8, 1960, he finished in 14th place in the finals-only 10,000 meters, in 29:32.0, almost a minute behind the winner, the Soviet Union's Pyotr Bolotnikov, who broke the Olympic record for the event.Just two days later, the blazing pace through the first 20 kilometers in the marathon helped result in an eventual world record for the barefoot winner, Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila. After they dispatched the rest of the field by 25 kilometers, the leading pair stayed stride-for-stride until the final 500 meters, with Ben Abdesselam finishing a close second in 2:15:41.6, 25.4 seconds behind Abebe's new world record. Abebe's mark trimmed 8/10ths of a second off Sergei Popov's world record of 2:15:17.0, set in 1958. Ironically, Abebe had been advised to watch out for Ben Abdesselam, but the latter wore his 10,000 meter competition number, so Abebe was unaware of the identity of his pursuer. Popov finished 5th in Rome, two minutes behind New Zealand's Barry Magee, who took the bronze medal.

Photo of Hicham El Guerrouj

4. Hicham El Guerrouj (1974 - )

With an HPI of 59.70, Hicham El Guerrouj is the 4th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Hicham El Guerrouj (Arabic: هشام الݣروج, Hishāmu l-Karrūj; Berber: Hisham El Gerruj, ⵀⵉⵛⴰⵎ ⴻⵍ ⴳⴻⵔⵔⵓⵊ; born 14 September 1974) is a retired Moroccan middle-distance runner. El Guerrouj is the current world record holder of the outdoor 1500 metres, mile, and 2000 metres events. He also held indoor world records for the mile and 1500 metres until 2019, and is the only man since Paavo Nurmi to earn a gold medal in both the 1500 metres and 5000 metres at the same Olympic Games. He has also won the world championship in the 1500 meters four consecutive times in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003. El Guerrouj holds 7 of the fastest 10 times ever run in the 1500 metres and in the mile. He is considered by many to be the greatest middle-distance runner of all time. In November 2014, he was inducted into the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Hall of Fame.

Photo of Brahim Boutayeb

5. Brahim Boutayeb (1967 - )

With an HPI of 54.41, Brahim Boutayeb is the 5th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Moulay Brahim Boutayeb (Arabic: مولاي ابراهيم بوطيب‎; born 15 August 1967 in Khemisset) is a retired Moroccan track and field athlete. He was the winner of the 10,000 m race at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Photo of Nezha Bidouane

6. Nezha Bidouane (1969 - )

With an HPI of 53.01, Nezha Bidouane is the 6th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Nezha Bidouane (Arabic: نزهة بدوان‎; born on 18 September in Rabat) is a retired Moroccan track and field hurdler who specialised in the 400 metres hurdles. A two-time World champion, she won the 400 m hurdles gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Athens and the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. In 1999, she won the silver medal at the World Championships in an African record time of 52.90 seconds. In 2000, she won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games. Bidouane oversees the annual Women's Race to Victory 8K road race in Rabat.

Photo of Jaouad Gharib

7. Jaouad Gharib (1972 - )

With an HPI of 51.88, Jaouad Gharib is the 7th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Jaouad Gharib (Arabic: جواد غريب‎, born 22 May 1972 in Khenifra) is a Moroccan long-distance runner who competes in the marathon. Winner of the 2003 World Championships and 2005 World Championships over the distance, he is also notable because he only began running seriously at the age of twenty-two. His 2005 retention made him one of only two successive world championship marathon champions, after Abel Antón. He was the silver medallist in the marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Photo of Mohammed Mourhit

8. Mohammed Mourhit (1970 - )

With an HPI of 51.23, Mohammed Mourhit is the 8th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Mohammed Mourhit (Arabic: محمد مُرحيت‎) (born 10 October 1970 in Khouribga, Morocco) is a Belgian top cross country, middle and long-distance runner who holds one European record, in the 3000 m. He is also a former European 10000 m record holder. He won a bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships in the 5000 metres and a silver medal at the 2001 IAAF World Indoor Championships in the 3000 metres behind Hicham El Guerrouj. Mourhit was also a two-time winner of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in the long course in 2000 and 2001. He also won the Lisbon Half Marathon 1997.He earned the Belgian citizenship in 1997 by marriage. He competed in Lotto Cross Cup cross country meetings and won the domestic series in 1996–97 and 1997–98.He was suspended for the use of EPO in 2002. He returned to competition in 2004, after seeing his ban reduced, and qualified for the World Championships in Helsinki 2005.He holds the fastest non-winning time for the 3000 metres. In Monaco on 18 August 2000, he ran 7:26.62, coming second to Ali Saïdi-Sief. No other man has broken 7:27 and come second.

Photo of Salah Hissou

9. Salah Hissou (1972 - )

With an HPI of 50.15, Salah Hissou is the 9th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Salaheddine Hissou (Arabic: صلاح حيسو‎) (born January 16, 1972) is a long-distance runner from Morocco, who won the gold medal over 5000 metres at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics in Seville. With 26:38.08 he also set a world record over 10,000 metres in Brussels in 1996 and won a bronze medal over 10,000 m at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.Hissou was born in Ait Taghia, Kasba Tadla.

Photo of Khalid Boulami

10. Khalid Boulami (1969 - )

With an HPI of 49.85, Khalid Boulami is the 10th most famous Moroccan Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Popular thanks to his bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Khalid Boulami is a Moroccan long distance runner born in Safi, Morocco on 7 August 1969. At the world athletics championships, he won two silver medals in the 1995 editions in Goteborg and 1997 in Athens. As well as 3 titles at the IAAF Grand Prix, in 1994 the silver medal, in 1995 the bronze medal and finally a gold medal in 1997. Despite the fact that he was way muscular and heavier than the other athletes by weighing 72 kg, which led to frequent injuries, Khalid Boulami always managed to place in the top 3 in all the races he competed in. He is the older brother of Brahim Boulami.

Pantheon has 14 people classified as athletes born between 1929 and 1987. Of these 14, 13 (92.86%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living athletes include Saïd Aouita, Nawal El Moutawakel, and Hicham El Guerrouj. The most famous deceased athletes include Rhadi Ben Abdesselam. As of October 2020, 2 new athletes have been added to Pantheon including Rhadi Ben Abdesselam and Mohammed Mourhit.

Living Athletes

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Deceased Athletes

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Newly Added Athletes (2020)

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