The man dubbed “Robel the whale” has an explanation for his painfully slow swim in the 100m freestyle in Rio.
Ethiopian Robel Habte, who evoked memories of ‘Eric the Eel’ from Sydney in 2000 after it took him 1min 4.95sec to swim 100m on Tuesday (NZ time), was carrying extra weight after recovering from a car crash.
The 24-year-old was mauled on social media after the sluggish swim, which saw him become one of 59 entrants in the heats not to finish the distance in under a minute.
But the Olympic swimmer, who was traumatised by his online critics, told The Daily Mail Australia there was good reason for his slow time,
He said the injuries suffered in a car accident two months ago in Addis Ababa saw him put on 40kg.
Habte fought to lose the weight in time to compete, but couldn’t shake it all off.
However, he did manage to lose plenty of the flab he put on while he couldn’t train for two months.
His weight ballooned to 120kg at one stage, before he got it down to 82kg for his 100m freestyle heat.
I’m calling bullshit on this.
To put on 40 kgs means consuming 360,000 more calories than you burn off. Over two months that is 6,000 excess calories a day. You typically burn off 2,000 calories a day so Habte would have to be eating 8,000 calories a day to put on 40 kgs in two months.
That would mean eating 16 Big Macs a day!
The more likely explanation is he has always been overweight (which is fine) but got selected for the Olympics not due to any particular ability in swimming, but because his father is head of the national swimming federation.