Young retired for a few months, Mahiedine Mekhissi is in the news again with a message causing controversy on social networks. Aged 38, the five-time European champion and 3000 meter steeplechase specialist, compared Adolf Hitler and Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. “Adolf Hitler is an altar boy next to Netanyahu!” The West, real collaborators,” wrote the French champion, accompanying these few words with hashtags establishing a link between Israel and the Nazi regime.
The words of the man whose career was punctuated by incidents and excesses as well as formidable performances, were at the origin of a wave of indignation from Internet users demanding the reporting of the original Rémois. The mayor of Reims, in fact, reacted virulently to Mahiedine Mekhissi's position. “And to think that this individual wore the France team jersey! I am ashamed for our city… what a wreck!”, regretted the city councilor, bitter.
Since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, one of the seven French athletes to have won three Olympic medals during three Olympic Games within the same discipline, in 2008 and 2012 (silver) and 2016 (bronze) has multiplied the criticism against the Hebrew State on the social network X by retweeting messages hostile to the IDF response in the Gaza Strip.
At the beginning of the 2000s, Mahiedine Mekhissi was one of the spearheads of French athletics by signing a sensational performance at the Beijing Olympic Games even though he was only an unknown at the time. He managed to win the silver medal in the 3000 meter steeplechase between two Kenyans, the masters of the distance, when no one expected him at this level. A coup which generated doubts and suspicions of doping but Mekhissi, who was never the subject of a positive test, confirmed his level in the following years by winning five coronations at the European Championships but also two bronze medals on his favorite surface.
The career of this complete and excessive athlete has, however, been marked by several controversies, such as a fight on the track during the Monaco meeting in 2011 or the violence against a mascot of the European Championship in Helsinki at the end of a race in 2012. He announced last January the end of his career, hampered by several injuries in recent years.
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