Rio Olympics: Overweight, slow Ethiopian swimmer draws attention

Robel Kiros Habte is not an elite swimmer. And he certainly doesn’t look like one.

But he’s an Olympic athlete. He represented Ethiopia in the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the Rio Games on Tuesday -- finishing dead last out of 59 competitors, with a time of 1:04.95.

No one else took more than a minute to finish the race. Habte was still swimming off screen when the other two participants in his heat finished.

Still, Habte was very pleased after the race.

"I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics," the 24-year-old college student said. "So thanks for God."

For some, Habte has become a favorite part of the Rio Games.

"Eric the Eel" was the popular nickname for another slow Olympican swimmer,  Equatorial Guinea's Eric Moussambani, who finished 100 at the 2000 Sydney Games in 1:52.72.

Memories of Moussambani seem to have inspired a not-so-nice nickname for Habte: Robel the Whale.



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