The main event of the London 2012 Olympics has its curtain call, in this final episode we look at the Unlikely Olympic Heroes.
These are individuals who somehow don’t seem to fit into the realm of the Olympic games, due to the fact they come from unlikely economic and political situations OR even the temperate weather of their home countries like Equatorial Guinea or Jamaica. These are individuals who attend the Olympic games on wild-card entries or by invitation.
Eric The Eel or Eric Moussambani gained entry to the Olympics without meeting the minimum qualification requirements via a wildcard draw designed to encourage developing countries without expensive training facilities to participate. While Pieter van den Hoogenband set a world record of 47.84 seconds to win the gold medal, Moussambani splashed his way to the finish to the cheers of the crowd in more than twice that time (1:52.72).
Another unlikely bunch of Olympic Heroes was the Jamaican Bobsled Team, a young group of track sprinters who participated in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games in the bobsled. For people not familiar with Jamaica, it is a TROPICAL country with NO SNOW and they sent a group of athletes to participate in the WINTER Olympics.
The team like Eric The Eel, did not qualify in their respective heats; they would eventually pave the way for many other non-winter countries to participate in the Winter games.
These very unique athletes represent the minority of athletes that inspired a generation not with their athletic prowess but their willingness to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and be proud to be counted as an Olympian.