Ahmed Ghonaim

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameAhmed Hussain Ahmed•Ghonaim
Used nameAhmed•Ghonaim
Original nameاحمد حسين احمد•غنيم
Born17 July 1937 in Al-Qahira (Cairo) (EGY)
AffiliationsPolice Sports Club, Al-Qahira (EGY)
NOC United Arab Republic

Biography

Ahmed Ghonaim had a reputation as both a troublemaker and an athlete in his youth, both of which were addressed when he was sent to join the Egyptian Police in 1955. This was the beginning of a lengthy gymnastics career for Ghonaim, which culminated in multiple national and international accolades. Most notable among these were the six medals he earned at the 1959 Mediterranean Games: gold in the parallel bars and team all-around, silver in the floor exercises, horse vault, and rings, and bronze in the all-around. He then travelled to the 1960 Summer Olympics, where he was 15th with the team from Egypt (then known as the United Arab Republic due to its union with Syria) and had his best individual finish of joint-63rd in the horse vault.

Ghonaim continued competing internationally for another two years, and was then recruited to star in a Russian-operated circus in Cairo, a position that he held until 1965. In 1967 he was then lured to Lebanon, where he was hired to build up the country’s national gymnastics program. Starting essentially from scratch, he developed a team that was competitive internationally, but had to leave in 1974 as the nation’s fifteen-year civil war loomed on the horizon. He was quickly snatched up by Saudi Arabia, who employed him through 1996 to establish a program in a country where gymnastics were practically unknown. By performing demonstrations during the halftime of football matches, he attracted enough attention to build a team that soon rose to be among the best in the Arab world. After his retirement, the Saudi government granted him the distinction of being the “founder of the sport of gymnastics in Saudi Arabia”.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Summer Olympics Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) UAR Ahmed Ghonaim
Individual All-Around, Men (Olympic) 89
Team All-Around, Men (Olympic) United Arab Republic 15
Floor Exercise, Men (Olympic) =108 r1/2
Horse Vault, Men (Olympic) =63 r1/2
Parallel Bars, Men (Olympic) =87 r1/2
Horizontal Bar, Men (Olympic) =87 r1/2
Rings, Men (Olympic) =85 r1/2
Pommelled Horse, Men (Olympic) =89 r1/2

Special Notes