Throwback To Equatorial Guinea Swimmer Eric ‘The Eel’ From The 2000 Sydney Games Who Legit Couldn’t Swim

So we’ve all seen this meme by now, pretty funny. I laughed the first four times I saw it because a lifeguard at the Olympics is as useless as an ejection seat on a helicopter. If there’s one job to show up high for, it’s this one.

But her presence really got me thinking. Why is she there? Under what circumstances would she be needed? Is she getting paid? Is she really just a wax statue used solely for decoration?

And then I remembered Eric Moussambani, more commonly known as Eric the Eel.

For those of you who’ve smoked too much weed to remember the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, Eric the Eel was a swimmer from the Equatorial Guinea.

Prior to the Olympics, Eric had never seen an Olympic-sized swimming pool, never mind trained in one. He took up swimming eight months before the Olympics and had practiced in a lake or a swimming pool at a hotel near his hometown.

Eric was able to participate in the games without meeting the minimum qualification requirements through a wildcard draw designed to encourage participation by developing countries lacking full training facilities.

How’d it work out for Eric? Well, he set the world record and brought glory and praise to Equatorial Guinea! Just kidding, Eric sucked at swimming. Like you and I, day drunk in the pool sucked. No offense to the Eel, probably a better man than I, but sucking at swimming is sucking at swimming.

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He swam his heat of the 100 meter freestyle in 1:52.72. His time was more than double that of his faster competitors, and even outside the 200 meter record. On the bright side, he set a new personal best and Equatoguinean national record and later became the coach of the national swimming squad of Equatorial Guinea.

Check out the footage from Sydney below. He’s swimming alone because the other two swimmers in his heat false started, thus were disqualified.

In the middle of watching the video, I started to feel bad for him. But then I remembered that he got the opportunity to participate in the most prestigious sporting platform on the planet even though he couldn’t swim. He’s probably been pulling tail in Equatorial Guinea using that schtick for almost two decades now. Eric the Eel doesn’t need your pity, but if you got a condom, that may be of help.

Matt Keohan Avatar
Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.