Monday, December 6, 2010

Trevor The Tortoise And Qwop The Quail

In the 2001 World Athletics Championships in Edmonton, Trevor Misipeka attended as a representative of American Samoa, intending to compete in the shotput. He would be competing largely so that American Samoa could have someone participating, a common practice in large multinational competitions. No fun shutting out entire nations from the festivities. Bring in a guy, let the nation's flag fly with everyone else's, and we'll just all gloss over the inevitable crash-and-burn in the first round.

This was to be the case with Misipeka; however, eligibility rules had recently been changed without Misipeka's or American Samoa's knowledge. Athletes of this type could no longer compete in field events- such as the shot put. Only track.

Misipeka, who doubled in football as a 300-pound defensive tackle, proceeded to sign up for the 100 meter dash on two day's notice.

Here's the thing about Samoan athletes and defensive tackles: they're kind of big. Shot put suits them. Running, not so much. Misipeka, on two days notice, ran a 14.28, last in the 8-man heat and over three seconds behind 7th-place Philam Garcia of Guam, and was quickly dubbed 'Trevor the Tortoise'.

In the new online game QWOP, you play what is clearly a man inspired by Trevor's example and who also has had all his bones replaced with Jello. You control calves and thighs individually, and you'll quickly wish you didn't.

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