You just can’t separate these two.
Eric Moussambani & Paula Barila Bolopa - slowest swimmers. Ever.
In 2000, they were neck and neck for the Olympic swimming equivalent of the Slow Cycle – last place in the pool. Eric Moussambani in the 100m freestyle; Paula Barila Bolopa the 50m freestyle. Neither athlete, both from Equatorial New Guinea, had swum in a 50m pool before their heat, both took their time getting out again.
Eric Moussambani finished in a time of 1 minute 52.72 seconds, over double the time of Pieter van den Hoogenband who won gold in 48.30 seconds. But who is the real winner? Here at the Slow Cycle it took us 10 minutes to find out who won the 100m freestyle, let alone how to spell his name, whereas EVERYONE knows who Eric the Eel is. A true Slow Champion and ambassador.
Paula Bolopa took 1 minute and 3.97 seconds to finish her heat in the 50m freestyle. The other competitor in the heat had a whole 37 seconds to get her breath back before Paula finished. Paula the Crawler was born.
Both athletes became superstars overnight as the world’s press leaped over themselves in an effort to be the first to portray their never give in, never surrender attitude as the true Olympic spirit™. Remember Liontien van Moorsel or Jenny Thompson? Course you don’t, they only won 3 Gold medals each. Slow rules. Kneel before Eric Moussambani and Paula Barila Bolopa, true Slow Champions.