The ongoing 2016 Rio Olympics have brought the best and the worst on social media. After highlighting ?cupping? technique used by Team USA athletes including gold medallist Michael Phelps, social media is going crazy over a Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte.
The swimmer cruelly dubbed ?Robel the Whale? for his chubby frame 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. ?While 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.
Besides Habte’s lackluster performance, the 24-year-old?s body frame who weighs 179 pounds in comparison to trim figures of other swimmers, earned him his cruel nickname and was largely derided on social media.
In yesterday's 100m freestyle prelims, Ethiopia's Robel Habte swam so slow he slipped off the screen pic.twitter.com/NSvoeio2kL
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 10, 2016
Another said: ?How in the world did this Ethiopian swimmer(Robel Habte) qualify for the Olympics? Overweight & embarrassingly slow?
Questions were also raised on social media as to how he qualified for the event, with some suggesting Habte’s father is president of the Ethiopian Swimming Federation, although these reports are unconfirmed.
He was even compared to Eric the Eel, ?Equatorial Guinea?s Eric ?the Eel? Moussambani who struggled to complete the 100m freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Games.
However, Habte isn?t letting the negativity get to him as in an interview with Reuters, he was clearly delighted anyway to perform in the competition.
He said: ?I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics.
?I wanted to do something different for my country, that’s why I chose swimming … every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn’t want to run; I wanted to be a swimmer. It didn’t matter where I finished.?
Some of the people are infact impressed by Robel?s dogged determination to finish the race.
Robel Kiros Habte might be my new hero. Finished half a lap behind rivals in 100m freestyle but does not care.
— Rachel King (@iamkingrachel) August 11, 2016
@FOPesha If nothing stopped Robel Kiros Habte from qualifying for the Olympics, what’s stopping you from fighting for your dreams?