It’s not the winning, but the participation, not the triumph, but the struggle !
Olympic debutant Robel Kiros Habte from Ethiopia participated in the 100 metres freestyle heats, with a goal of winning it. But by the time, he took his first dive, almost a body length behind the others.
Habte was the only one from the 59 entrants who could not complete the distance in under a minute. Besides he reached 15 seconds late than the swimmer before him.
But he still got the loudest cheer in the arena from the crowd.
Ethiopia’s Robel Kiros Habte finishes half a lap behind other swimmers in 100m free heat. Gets huge cheer after finishing. Love it #Rio2016
— Dale Miller (@miller_dj) August 9, 2016
Here is the video of Robel Habte, the out-of-shape Olympics swimmer, finishing 15 seconds after his competition.
Here is the video of Robel Habte, the fat Olympics swimmer, finishing 15 seconds after his competition pic.twitter.com/A0lB2jr43P
— Jack McGuire (@BigDaddysCourt) August 9, 2016
The crowd, recognising a valiant effort, gave a thumping cheer for a man who was really keen to get to the finish line.
“I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics. So thanks to God,” said the Ethiopia-based university student, whose entry for Rio was secured on a special invitation from world body FINA extended to athletes from under-represented countries.
Another thing that garnered attention was the swimmer’s physique with some social media commentators highlighting his midriff in comparison to more finely-honed denizens of the Olympic pool.
— Mihir Vasavda (@mihirsv) August 9, 2016
Habte is forever going to remember this Olympics because for him, it was not about winning but only participating.
“I wanted to do something different for my country, that’s why I chose swimming,” he said. “Everybody, every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn’t want to run, I wanted to be a swimmer.