Khalid Skah was involved in controversy in winning his Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Skah battled throughout with Kenyan Richard Chelimo. While they were lapping another Moroccan, Hammou Boutayeb, he interfered with Chelimo, bumping him several times, cutting him off, and making him run over and around him. Before the bell, Boutayeb was warned by an IAAF Technical Delegate to stop his tactics. On the last lap Skah pulled away, eventually winning by one second ahead of Chelimo. Skah was initially disqualified for being assisted by Boutayeb, although he was reinstated the next day.
Skah won the International Cross-Country Championships in 1990 and 1991. His first major podium finish on the track was a bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships in the 10,000. Skah won the 1994 World Half-Marathon Championship and finished second in the 10K at the 1995 World Championships.
Skah applied for Norwegian citizenship in 1997, after he had married Norwegian interior designer Anne Cecilie Hopstock, and lived and trained there for years, and due to that, the Moroccan Athletics Association banned him from international competitions. He was reinstated in 2001, but an attempted comeback met with little success.
Skah and Hopstock had two children, but they split after moving to Morocco in 2006, with the children given to Hopstock by Norwegian courts in 2008. Skah kept the children in Morocco, and he was indicted on kidnapping, threats, and domestic disturbance charges. The children escaped from Morocco in July 2009, with Hopstock enlisting assistance from the Norwegian embassy and members of Norwegian special forces, who were off-duty at the time. Skah then announced a reward to any person helping him recover the children. He was arrested in 2013 at Orly Airport in Paris but a few months later French authorities refused extradition requests to Norway, stating that they did not think he would be treated fairly in Norway because of deterioration in relations between the Moroccan and Norwegian governments related to the case.
Personal Best: 10000 – 27:14.53 (1995).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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