Past Athletes

Personal Data

Surname: PopovFirstname: AlexanderCountry: RussiaDate of birth: 1971-11-16Birthplace : Sverdlovsk (USSR)Height: 200 cmWeight: 87.0 kg

Career Data

Disciplines: 50m, 100m freestyle, relaysWorld records: 2 (50m, 100m freestyle)Olympic Games (9 medals - 4 gold, 5 silver)World Championships (11 medals - 6 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze)European Championships (26 medals - 21 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze)World Short Course Championships (2 medals - 2 bronze)
  • 50m freestyle: 1st (1992, 1996), 6th (2000)
  • 100m freestyle: 1st (1992, 1996), 2nd (2000)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 2nd (1992, 1996)
  • 4x100m medley relay: 2nd (1992, 1996)
  • 50m freestyle: 1st (1994, 2003), 2nd (1998)
  • 100m freestyle: 1st (1994, 1998, 2003)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 1st (2003), 2nd (1994), 3rd (1998)
  • 4x100m medley relay: 2nd (1994, 2003)
  • 50m freestyle: 1st (1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2004), 3rd (1999)
  • 100m freestyle: 1st (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000), 2nd (1999, 2002)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 1st (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000), 2nd (1999)
  • 4x100m medley relay: 1st (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002), 3rd (1999)
  • 50m freestyle: 3rd (2002)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 3rd (2002)


The naturalImpressive numbers

When swimming, Alexander Popov looked so at ease that it was hard to imagine his natural habitat was not water.

His style, and above all, his unerring ability, gave the Russian sprinter unprecedented results in the shape of the Olympic "double-double" 50m/100m.

He even had his sights on a rare treble at Sydney 2000 but had to settle for silver in the 100m freestyle behind Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband, while he was a distant sixth in the 50m race.

Adding a third 100m world gold to his collection and reclaiming his world 50m gold at Barcelona in 2003, Popov also captured his first gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Born in 1971 close to the Ural mountains, Popov got his first taste of the water in Volgograd, the city where his parents both worked.

His swimming exploits began in the backstroke event, but with the Soviet Union looking to put an end to American domination in the freestyle sprints, Popov was offered the chance to train with reputed coach Gennadi Touretski.

Popov also won two silver medals in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley under the banner of the Community of Independent States in 1992.

An interesting Olympic anecdote: his results at Atlanta 96 would turn out to be exactly the same as those achieved in the previous Olympiad.

However, falling victim to an attack while out and about in Moscow with his wife, swimmer Darya Chmeliova, and some friends, the subsequent two weeks spent in hospital resulted in the loss of seven kilos.

A year later, the multiple world and European champion retained his European 100m title and also retained his 100m world title in 1998.

After becoming a father he lost all four of his European titles to the new Dutch kid on the block, Pieter Van den Hoogenband during the 1999 world championships in Istanbul, and the Dutchman deprived him in Sydney as well despite a new 50m world record just months prior to the Games.

His haul of over 40 medals (Olympics, worlds and Europeans) may have been even greater if he had not picked up an infection while attending an IOC meeting to determine the host city for the 2008 Summer Games and consequently finished well out of the running at the 2001 world championships.

After ten years training in Australia, he decided on a move to Switzerland in January 2003 in order to improve his preparations for Athens 2004 and also be better positioned to attend business interests.

Retirement appeared on the horizon after he failed to reach either the 50m or 100m freestyle finals in Greece and he hung up his trunks for good in February 2005.

He is still an active member of the International Olympic Committee.


Unified team swimmer Alexander Popov waves to crowd on the podium after he won the gold medal in the Men's 100m freestyle final, Barcelona, 28 July 1992. In the 1996 Olympic games, he kept his title, emulating the back-to-back victories of Johnny Weissmuller in 1924 and 1928.Russian ace Alexander Popov dives into the water at the start of the men's 50m freestyle heat of the European Swimming Championships in Sevilla 23 August. Popov clocked the best time of his heat with 22.57sec to qualify for the final. Popov has already won the 100m freestyle on Tuesday and the 4x100m freestyle relay final with his teammates on Friday.Dutch star swimmer Pieter Van den Hoogenband (C) hugs Russian Alexander Popov after VDH won the gold medal of the men 100m freestyle event 20 September 2000 at Sydney International Aquatic centre during the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. Russian Alexander Popov took the silver and US swimmer Garry Hall JR. bronze.           AFP PHOTO/GREG WOODRussia's Alexander Popov reacts after he won the men's 50m freestyle final, 26 July 2003 in Barcelona, at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships.(FILES) Russian Alexander Popov swims during the men's 100m freestyle final at the World Swimming Championships in Rome 07 September 1994, winning the gold medal in 49.12The abdomen scar on two-time Olympic double-gold medalist Alexander Popov of Russia is clearly visible 06 January many months after he sustained a life-threatening wound in a knife attack on a Moscow street. Popov will compete among 1,500 athletes from 122 nations at the 11-day 8th World Swimming Championships in Perth starting 07 January.    AFP PHOTO  Torsten BLACKWOODRussian Alexander Popov poses 24 August with the four gold medals he won at the European Swimming Championships in Seville.Russia's Alexander Popov concentrates 07 June 2001 in Canet en Roussillon, southern France, before the start of the men's 50m freestyle. Popov won in 22.18s.
1United States462929104
3Great Britain29171965
5South Korea138728

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