Eddie - a loveable loser
For most athletes winning is everything.
Phrases like ‘nice guys come last’ and ‘there are no prizes for second place’ underline the competitive spirit and will to win that consume most athletes.
However here in the UK we also have a soft spot for gallant losers; those sportsmen and women who put themselves forward even though they have little or no chance of competitive success.
The most famous British heroic loser is undoubtedly Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, the short-sighted plasterer who represented Britain at the 1988 Winter Olympics in the ski-jumping competition.
Edwards entered the event despite having no funding, ski boots that didn’t fit him, and being barely able to see the end of the jump due to his much-needed glasses fogging up.
Needless to say, he finished last in every competition but won the hearts of fans all over the world for his endearing optimism and never-say-die spirit.
Years have passed since ‘The Eagle’ last soared but a new generation of lovable losers have proved themselves (or not) on the Olympic stage.
Eric ‘The Eel’ Moussambani represented Equatorial Guinea in the 100m swimming competition at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, having been selected by a wildcard draw designed to encourage developing countries.
Moussambani came last with a time more than double that of the race winner, and set a new Olympic record for the slowest time to complete the event.
“The last 15 metres were very difficult,” said ‘The Eel’, who took up swimming only eight months before the Olympics and had never seen a 50m pool before.
Moussambani won the hearts of fans and media alike with his plucky attitude. Will Beijing 2008 give the world another noble failure to love?