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The Olympic Swimmer Who'd Never Been in an Olympic-Size Pool

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To bring the Olympic spirit to developing nations in the late 1990s, the Olympic Committee allowed a small number of "wild card" athletes to join the Games. But because they didn't have to go through any qualifying rounds to compete, not all of the contenders arrived prepared. One such athlete was a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea named Eric Moussambani. When Moussambani arrived at the 2000 Sydney Games, he'd only been training for the 100-meter freestyle for about eight months. He'd also never been in an Olympic-size pool and had never raced more than 50 meters. Regardless, he was determined to represent his country.

The three wild-card qualifiers were given their own heat, and Moussambani took to the blocks next to swimmers from Niger and Tajikistan. When the official called the swimmers to their marks, both of Moussambani's competitors were disqualified for false starts. Left to swim the heat by himself, Eric dove in and dog paddled, gasping for air and flailing his arms and legs. Halfway through the race, the situation looked so dire that commentators seriously worried he was drowning.

When Moussambani eventually stalled out 10 meters from the end of the race, the crowd rallied behind him as he inched toward the finish. As he finally pulled himself from the water, the applause thundered. His final time was 1:52.72—more than twice that of swimmers in the previous heat. But Moussambani couldn't have been happier. Ecstatic to have finished his first 100-meter race, he told reporters, "I'm going to jump and dance all night long in celebration of my personal triumph."

Moussambani's pluck and perseverance made him an Olympic celebrity, and his newfound fans dubbed him "Eric the Eel." He kept training for the 2004 Games and even got his time down to a respectable 57 seconds. Unfortunately, a visa snafu kept him from competing again.

Here's his memorable Olympic moment (and 52 seconds):

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How to Tie Your Shoes With One Hand, According to a Paralympian
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Megan Absten lost her left arm in an ATV accident when she was 14, but the injury hasn't stopped her from doing extraordinary things like competing for the U.S. track and field team in the Paralympics. Nor has it stopped her from completing everyday tasks that most people need two hands for—like tying her shoes. After the shoe-tying methods she learned in physical therapy didn't cut it for her, she had to come up with her own one-handed trick. She shares her process in a new video spotted by Lifehacker.

First things first: Lay your laces on either side of your shoe. Next, use your hand to cross them and tuck one end through to make the beginning of your knot. Pin the end of one lace beneath the bottom of your foot to hold it tight, then pull the second lace up with your hand.

Now, you're ready to make your bunny ears. Create a loop with the free lace and pinch it between your thumb and index finger. Then, use your middle finger to grab the lace that you’ve been holding under your shoe. Circle this string around the loop, then push it through the opening to create your second bunny ear. Tighten the new knot by sticking your index finger and thumb in each loop and spreading them wide.

Watch Absten explain the process for herself in the video below. If you're feeling more advanced, she also demonstrates a second technique for you to try.

Once you've mastered those methods, try out these shoe hacks for happier feet.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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2018 Winter Olympics By the Numbers: Which Country Was the Big Winner in Pyeongchang?
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND, AFP/Getty Images
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND, AFP/Getty Images

The closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was held on Sunday, February 25, concluding more than two weeks of history-making figure-skating jumps and listening to curlers yell at each other. But if you're someone who tunes in to the Olympics only to see your country win, you may have been left feeling confused. There was no official winner announced at the end of the event, so how are you supposed to know which nation dominated the Winter Games? Judging solely by medal count, these are the countries that skied, skated, and slid their way to the top in Pyeongchang.

According to Bloomberg, Norway came out of the games as the most decorated country. The Scandinavian nation of 5.3 million took home 11 bronze, 14 silver, and 14 gold medals, bringing the total to 39. That makes Norway the biggest single nation winner at any Winter Olympics, breaking the prior record of 37, which was set by the U.S. at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Norway was represented by about half the number of athletes competing on Team USA, but it was bolstered by a few advantages—like long winters (making training for cross-country sports easier), universal healthcare, and a culture that encourages young athletes to play sports for the sake of play rather than for the sake of winning.

Germany tied Norway for the most golds with 14, but earned 10 silver and seven bronze medals, landing them in second place with 31. Canada ranked third with 29 medals overall, 11 of which were gold, and the United States came in fourth with a tally of 23 medals, including nine golds. The Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Switzerland, France, and Austria round out the top 10.

Teams used to spending a lot of time on the podium may strive for that top slot, but placing in any event is impressive. The majority of teams that competed went home without any medals to show for their efforts. Fortunately, they have until 2022 to prepare for the next Winter Olympics in Beijing.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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