I gots the fever

I really should have signed up to get cable before these Olympics.  But instead I’ve been visiting friends, or trying to watch videos online here and there.  I love all the events, particularly the obscure ones like badminton and judo.  But swimming is by far and away my favorite, especially since I’ve been swimming competitively and I can kind of compare what I do to what they do.  And by compare, I mean, I’m often saying, “that is exactly twice as fast as I swim!”

That’s why this is my favorite video of all time:

And just for some context, that video is from the 2000 Sydney Games, when the Olympic committee decided that they would give developing countries “wild card” slots so that they could send athletes to represent their countries, even if they didn’t have Olympic times.  This video is of Eric “The Eel” Mousammbani, who eight months after learning to swim, and never swimming in an Olympic-sized pool before, swam his 100 meters in 1:52.72, nearly drowning towards the end.  For reference, I swam the 100 meters in 1:31.08 the last time I swam in a 50 meter pool.  You can read more about it on Mental Floss.  (His swim, not mine.)

I bet most of those Olympic swimmers couldn’t swim at those speeds and stay afloat.  And that’s what makes swimming slowly so special.


20 responses to this post.

  1. This is what I think of when I hear people talk about Olympic spirit. The underdog, the obscure person not trying to make a name for himself but trying to represent his country. The Eric the Eels who give it all they have and the Kerri Strugs who carried the hopes of them on her sprained ankle. Can you really watch this without tearing up?

  2. Wow, I really butchered that comment. It was the tears from the video! I couldn’t see what I was typing! Anyway, what I meant to say was that I find the Olympic spirit in the Eric the Eel and Kerri Strug type of Olympians rather than the men’s pro basketball team, or the pampered and primped prima donnas attitudes of most of the Olympic athletes. Maybe I just like the underdog. I think it’s just that I like to watch people with heart. People who are there for more than just the glory. Okay, I’m done now.

  3. Posted by lizgwiz on August 14, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Awwww…go, Eel!

    I’m most fascinated by the synchonized diving, personally.

  4. I remember seeing that and thinking how awesome that was at the time! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

  5. I knew there was more talent to your swimming than you were letting on. There needs to be a federation of slow swimmers.

  6. I remember that guy – at the time, I was hoping to break 6 hours in the marathon, so I really related to him. There’s also a special place in my heart for an elite runner whose name escapes me. He set a world record at the Chicago Marathon one of the years that I ran. I don’t know if he was specifically asked about the slowpoke runners or if he just volunteered it, but he said that he was amazed that someone would take many hours to run a marathon, that if it took him that long, he’d be too tired and wouldn’t want to run. (His fastest time is over 2 times faster than my fastest time and almost 3 times faster than my first time.)

  7. Posted by elizabeth on August 14, 2008 at 11:01 am

    My favorite(?) is rhymthmic gymnastics – or as someone said….didn’t that used to be called “Playing with the Cat?”

  8. Wow, that guy was struggling. But at least he didn’t give up!

    I swam in high school and there were a couple of kids that swam like Eel, except they were doing the 500. It took forever, and by the end you were hoping they didn’t drown because they looked so exhausted.

  9. i’m generally impressed with ANY kind of feat in swimming—i nearly drowned when i was four and even though i learned to swim later, i’ve always been horrible at it.

  10. I cannot make myself watch the Olympics for anything. But that video was great.

  11. The video is fab. I too, like Allie, will not be watching this year. The East Timor issue matters a great deal to me.

    Enjoy and do share what happens in the gymnastics!

  12. Posted by Sarah on August 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Synchronized diving has always been my favorite to watch. It amazes me that the announcers are able to point out the divers’ foibles before they even show the slo-mo replay. I’m inclined to exclaim “Wow, that looked perfect!” after every dive, until the announcers set me straight.

  13. Why isn’t there a slow swimming event? I mean, really, swimming has so many events already. What’s one more?

    The Eel rocks.

  14. I saw video earlier today of a swimmer from the DRC, this year’s version of the Eel. It was cool. He was looking around at the other competitors to figure out how to stand on the starting block. He was nervous as hell, but he got through it.

  15. Posted by Aaron on August 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Man, that was great; it turns out I do miss things by not watching the Olympics. Thank Zod I have the internet to tell me if anything good happens.

  16. This made me want Pringles.

    I haven’t been watching the Olympics but I have been hearing about all the scandals. Poor ugly Chinese girl who sings so well.

  17. And who is NOT ugly.

    Seriously, I want Pringles.

  18. and the only cure is……

    sorry, i had to do it

  19. I just loved the swimming, too.

    I remember that slow swimmer, too. Do they not do those “charity” slots any more?

  20. I love the swimming as I have professed many, many times on my blog in the last 2 weeks.

    I think there needs to be an all swimming channel, like the golf channel. Golfers wear too many clothes and generally don’t have hot bodies.

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