Today is my first day post-Pearson, and I spent it fighting with Time Warner over my new (and by new, I mean new today) DVR. The first box they brought me wasn’t working, and when I finally got someone on the phone I told them I was leaving town for a wedding tonight and had to program all the Olympics coverage I wanted to see before I left. I mean, obviously.
Anyway, that’s been fixed. But while I waited, I did watch some USA v. France women’s soccer prelims. When I started watching, the match was tied, but the US women scored two quick goals and pretty much had the rest of the game in the bag. I’m not saying I’m a good luck charm, but I am. Since things are clearly underway now, don’t forget to “like” NBC Olympics on Facebook. You can also sign into their complete Games coverage online so you don’t have to miss any of the action!
To the countdown!
Number 2 on our list, Eric Moussambani, Sydney’s lone swimmer:
I’m not going to lie to you guys. I know we still have the top spot on our Great Moments in Olympics History list to come, but Eric Moussambani’s solo race in the 2000 Olympics is the moment that touches me the most. I remember watching it on replay one night at my parents’ house and weeping. So here’s how it all went down.
Moussambani is a swimmer from the country of Equatorial Guinea. An official Olympic “wild card” qualifier, he was racing in his first heat of the 100 meter freestyle when two false starts left him standing alone on the starting block, with no other competitors to his left or right. Moussambani would have to race this heat by himself.
Racing by himself in a pool more than double the size of the pool he trained in back home, Moussambani needed more than a minute and 52 seconds to finish. The world record for the 100 meter freestyle is 47.84. There were moments it didn’t seem like Moussambani would even finish the race. But he finally touched that wall, won the heat, and created a place for himself in Olympic history.
While some people may argue that this kind of wild card qualification doesn’t have a place in the Olympics, I think Moussambani’s race only solidifies the fact that the best athletes from each country deserve a chance to compete, not the best athletes from around the world competing for individual glory.
So the next time you worry about those things you think you can’t do, those goals you think you’ll never accomplish, remember Eric Moussambani. His 1:52 race may have been way off the world mark, but it was his own personal best, and a national record in Equatorial Guinea.
These things all depend on how you look at them.