Our #tbt today is dedicated to the story of Eric “The Eel” Moussambani, the first Equatorial Guinea swimmer who partecipated in the Olympics Games in Sidney.

In the years before the Olympics Games he had practised in a river, and later a 12-metre swimming pool in a hotel in Malabo, that he was only given access to between 5 and 6 AM, so just few hours per week, but it felt to do it, first of all because he really enjoyed to swim and because he said that Olympics games are not just a competition, but there is a spirit, and he wanted to be part of it.

It was the 2000, and Moussambani gained entry to the Olympics without meeting the minimum qualification requirements thanks to a wildcard draw designed to encourage participation by developing countries lacking full training facilities. After 3 days travel from his country he arrived in Australia, and the first thing he did was to go to the american swimmer training to try to understand how to do it, asking questions and trying to understand a way to facilitate his heat. He had never seen an Olympic-sized swimming pool before that time.

The day finally arrived, but in the beginning the other two swimmers in his heat made false starts, thus disqualified, and he won the heat unopposed in 1:52.72, one minute more than the olympic record.
He was alone in the pool and afraid that the people whom were watching him swimming could make fun of him, but they didn’t do it! They were supporting him, they were encouraging him! Using his words “that people gave me strenght and power to reach the goal.” Nowadays there are two 50-metre swimming pool in Equatorial Guinea.

This story gives us many lessons. It teaches us that if you love to do something, you have just to do it. It teaches us that the most important thing in sport is to partecipate. It teaches us that everyone of us has his own goals, and with will, hardwork and passion we can do it. This is the kind of story that make us fall in love with sport!

#GetVal #GetValPeople #SportValues #Hardwork #Passion