The Calgary Olympics had ski-jumper Eddie the Eagle. The Sydney Games had swimmer Eric the Eel. Now the World Championships here have produced the latest heroic failure to capture the hearts of the public – 100-metre "runner" Trevor the Tortoise.
At 6ft 1in and weighing in at 300lb, Trevor Misapeka is a fearsome sight.But in the starting blocks on Saturday, Misapeka had no one shaking in their spikes. Indeed, the imposing American Samoan was trampled in the rush to the finish line in the first of the morning 100m heats.
To the applause and encouragement of the sparse crowd, the hulking Misapeka lurched home four seconds behind the winner Kim Collins, clocking a snail-like 14.28.
It was an effort that could have been matched by many of the Edmonton schoolchildren looking on. "That's it, that's my personal best, I've never run that far before," smiled Misapeka. "I figured if I got out of the blocks without falling on my face that I had a good chance of finishing the race."
It seems that every major championship produces a new addition to the list of lovable losers. But the athlete, who has played top level American college football at Idaho State and Western Washington Universities, said it was circumstances not desire that placed him in the losers' hall of fame.
The 22-year-old came to compete in the shot put but when qualification rule changes prevented him taking part in that event he entered his name alongside the likes of Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon.
"I had to pretty much run the 100, at 300 pounds; I couldn't see myself running the mile," Misapeka said.Reuse content