Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros Habte Is Being Body-Shamed on Social Media
But what happens when an Olympic swimmer's body deviates from this norm? He gets body-shamed on Twitter, natch!
Habte competed in the 100-meter freestyle heats in Rio on Tuesday, where he finished last with a time of 1 minute 4.95 seconds. In the aftermath of the event, the 179-pound swimmer was nicknamed "Robel the Whale" by some viewers, which seems to be intended in part as a way to paint him as a lovable underdog, but is ultimately just rude. (No shade to actual whales, though.)
Some folks have speculated that Habte's qualification for the Olympics can be explained by nepotism, as his father is reportedly president of the Ethiopian Swimming Federation.
Yet despite all the mean comments, Habte told Reuters that he wasn't concerned about finishing last; he was just grateful to be a part of the games.
"I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics, so thanks for God," he said. "I wanted to do something different for my country, that's why I chose swimming. 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. It didn't matter where I finished."
Not everyone on the internet is fat-shaming Habte, though. Many people have come to his defense, urging body-shamers to get in the damn water themselves if they wanna pass judgment on an Olympic swimmer's body.
New rule: No more calling Olympians fat!