Première participationRome 1960
Année de naissance1942


Moroccan-born Alain Gottvallès was the first swimmer to finish the 100 m freestyle in less than 53 seconds, setting a new world record of 52.9 as the first swimmer of a French 4 x 100 m relay team at a 1964 Budapest competition. This performance, combined with his 1962 European title in the same event, made him one of the favourites. He could not live up to the expectations and placed 5th. This was in part due to some psychological warfare waged on him by eventual winner Don Schollander, who noticed the Frenchman was nervous and annoyed by Schollander. Hours before the race, Schollander followed Gottvallès to the toilets, and decided to wait behind him, even though other urinals were free. On top of his poor individual performance, the French relay team was disqualified in the relay final. Gottvallès retired after the Games, but his world record remained unbeaten until 1967, when it was broken by Ken Walsh. A tenfold French champion, he played minor roles in two films, but never broke through as an actor. He died of bone cancer, aged 65.

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