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People Are Saying I Caused This Tubby Olympic Swimmer From Ethiopia To Retire

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In a landlocked country known for scarcity of food and resources, emaciation, and long distance running, one man dared to be different. Robel Kiros Habte, a.k.a. “Robel the Whale” (for real, that’s his nickname so get off me), is an out-of-shape, overweight Olympic swimmer, and his time in the global spotlight was captured, discussed, and memed into oblivion on social media.

That was mine. Innocent enough, I thought. A million retweets, though. So yeah, it went tf off and got a lot of attention. With attention comes the haters. And with the attention from haters, comes accusations of fat-shaming.

I don’t know, though. The guy is just not thin. He’s not some average, everyday asshole in line at Starbucks I’m calling overweight. He’s a swimmer at very literally the pinnacle of the sport. The best of the best of the best, in a sport that requires insane physical condition in which to compete. That leaves you open for a little lighthearted ribbing.

It also turns out his old man is the president of Ethiopia’s swimming federation, which is a real life thing it turns out, so my common sense tells me Dad pulled some strings to get his tubby son in Rio in place of possibly someone actually deserving.

Then there’s this:

I don’t know the first thing about swimming but this seems believable enough to me. Robel the Whale didn’t belong there. You know it. I know it. Everyone with working eye balls knows it.

From Daily Mail:

By the time the portly 24-year-old had emerged for air from his opening dive off the blocks in the 100 meters freestyle heats, he was already almost a body length behind and it did not get any better.

The only one of the 59 entrants in the heats not to complete the distance in under a minute, Habte touched the wall with a time 17 seconds slower than Australian pacesetter Kyle Chalmers who clocked 47.90 seconds.

Seventeen seconds slower than the winning time in a down-and-back freestyle swim. That is awful. SO awful. I KNOW I’m a faster swimmer than this dude. And even Daily Mail calls him portly. See, haters.

Alright so he retired on Wednesday. So sad blah blah blah the fat swimmer hangs up the Speedo because he’s fat and sucks at swimming. I guess it’s my fault, huh, according to the 876 people who told me so on Twitter. Whatever.


We covered this extensively in our podcast yesterday (listen below). And look, when you show up to the OLYMPIC GAMES looking like an undeclared fourth-year sophomore, people will take notice, and they will make fun of you, and you will have it coming.

[via Daily Mail]

Image via Shutterstock

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Dillon Cheverere

Dillon Cheverere (@DCheverere) is the Vice President of Media for Grandex, Inc. Email:

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