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Olympic Memories: Eric "The Eel" Moussambani
From the Olympic Sports Desk...

This is a true story.

In 2000 a young man named Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea qualified for the Sydney Games through a "wild card." The wild card was designed to encourage developing countries without expensive training facilities to get more involved in Olympic sports.

"The Eel" learned to swim eight months prior to the Olympics. He was 22-years-old. He learned and sort-of-practiced in a hotel pool. One of only two pools in all of Equatorial Guinea. (A very small African nation.) Before the Olympics, Moussambani had never even seen a 50 meter sized pool, let alone swam in one.

As "The Eel" was ready to swim his ceremonial heat, his two competitors false started. They were DQ'd. So Moussambani doggy-paddled the race alone. While his time was twice the Olympic standard, there was something noble about the effort. A purity. "The Eel" gave it everything he had. And inspired many.

Swim, Eric. Swim.



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8 Comments

That's the spirit man. You give it your best shot you got the right to be proud. It's about character not just numbers.

said E on August 21, 2008 9:47 PM.

What a story!
Roy and HG are the best sports commentators on the planet, or at least Australia

said chad on August 22, 2008 1:39 AM.

I remember when I watched it during the Sydney Olympic Games. I couldn't help myself laughing at the time. But it was really impressive. Eric was almost drowning but fought against his limitations until the end.

I heard they've built an Olympic pool in Equatorial Guinea after that, but I don't know if that's true.

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 22, 2008 8:43 AM.

Careful guys - Casey may read this and blow a gasket. Let's not ruin it for everyone cheering for Eric.

said ConservaLiberCrat_08 on August 22, 2008 1:18 PM.

I only wish that Eric had burst from the water and started taunting his competitors who false-started.

They have the paralyzed Olympics following the traditional Olympic Games, and they are really great. I wish they followed up the Paralympics with the Incompalympics, so regular guys like Eric the Eel could extend the glory a little longer.

The only requirement would be that you can't be competent at the event in which you are entered: bad joggers have to do the 400 meter hurdles, D&D players have to do weightlifting, the terminally uncoordinated - gymnastics, and so on.

The one exception would be trampoline. If you can bounce on a trampoline, you can do trampoline. The only difference would be that the Gold medal goes to the guy with most broken limbs.

said Don't Swayze Bro on August 22, 2008 3:09 PM.

Between this guy, Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, and those guys in Cool Runnings, we have a pretty cool reality show in the works.

said Scaramouch on August 22, 2008 4:28 PM.

I freaking loved Eddie the Eagle.

said Johnny Wright on August 22, 2008 4:33 PM.

'the paralyzed Olympics '

Oh man, I'm laughing my ass off ...

said Tim on August 22, 2008 10:37 PM.
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