Olympic Swimmer 'Robel the Whale' Wins Gold in Our Hearts

Internet embraces Ethiopian Robel Kiros Habte after he finishes half a lap behind his competitors

Photo: NBC

If you've ever lost spectacularly in any gym class competition, the good news is you have something in common with an Olympian.

24-year-old Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte may not have the build of an Olympic swimmer. As it turns out, nor does he have the time, as he finished in last place, half a lap behind his competitors in the 100-meter freestyle. Robel completed with a time of 1 minute, 4.95 seconds, and was the only competitor with an ending time over a minute long.

After the race, Robel explained his unique circumstances to Reuters. "Everybody, every day you wake up in Ethiopia, you run. Not swimming. But I didn't want to run, I wanted to be a swimmer," Robel said. "It didn't matter where I finished."

While the last-place finish obviously won't win Robel any medals, it has certainly endeared him to crowd, as the Brazilian spectators erupted in cheers once Robel finished his race. The enthusiasm carried over to the Internet, where Robel gained the nickname "Robel the Whale," and several tweeted their appreciation for Robel's against-all-odds efforts.

Check out the video of Robel's big swim here.