Twenty years ago, Eric Moussambani became a global star after swimming a 100-metre freestyle alone in the Olympic pool in Sydney so slowly that it appeared he might sink.
Moussambani was the first swimmer from Equatorial Guinea, a Central African nation with a population at the time of less than one million, to compete in the Olympics.
“At the end of the race, I felt grateful above all because at least I had been able to represent my country, because I had managed to finish those 100 metres, which I had never done before,” he told AFP in Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo ahead of the 20th anniversary on Saturday.
Moussambani did not race against the top swimmers, but was instead put in a heat for beneficiaries of an Olympic programme designed to encourage sport development.
In the 100 metres the two other competitors, from Tajikistan and Niger, were disqualified for…