Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros Habte Is Being Body-Shamed on Social Media

Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros Habte Is Being Body-Shamed on Social Media
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The phrase "swimmer's body" typically conjures an image of a body that is trim and lean. That's especially true at the Olympics, where the majority of athletes are in peak physical condition

But what happens when an Olympic swimmer's body deviates from this norm? He gets body-shamed on Twitter, natch!

At least that's the case for Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte, whose physical shape has been the subject of some raaather judgy tweets and articles in recent days.

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!

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Nicolas DiDomizio

Nicolas DiDomizio is a Staff Connections Writer at Mic. Prior to Mic, he was at MTV for 3 years. He holds a masters from NYU and a bachelors from Western Connecticut State University. Contact him at nic@mic.com.

MORE FROM

This artist is celebrating the beauty of stretch marks by painting them

"All bodies have stains, hairs, freckles, stretch marks, curves, lines, wounds, wrinkles... and all are equally valid."

Plus-size model Kelvin Davis on what it’s really like to shop as a plus-size man

"I don’t really know why companies are not making larger sizes.”

Dascha Polanco on inclusive fashion, her hashtag #selflovery and redefining beauty standards

We spoke to the 'Orange Is the New Black' actress about why she believes fashion should be for all sizes.

Every stunning look Michelle Obama’s rocked in her six months since leaving the White House

We've rounded up every single post-FLOTUS appearance.

Under Armour's latest campaign is celebrating the power of female athletes

Jessie Graff, Alison Désir, Natasha Hastings and Zoe Zhang also appear in the ads.

See pics from the first-ever all-black Pirelli calendar featuring Naomi Campbell, RuPaul & Lupita Nyong’o 

Diddy, Djimon Hounsou, Duckie Thot and others appear in the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed shoot.

This artist is celebrating the beauty of stretch marks by painting them

"All bodies have stains, hairs, freckles, stretch marks, curves, lines, wounds, wrinkles... and all are equally valid."

Plus-size model Kelvin Davis on what it’s really like to shop as a plus-size man

"I don’t really know why companies are not making larger sizes.”

Dascha Polanco on inclusive fashion, her hashtag #selflovery and redefining beauty standards

We spoke to the 'Orange Is the New Black' actress about why she believes fashion should be for all sizes.

Every stunning look Michelle Obama’s rocked in her six months since leaving the White House

We've rounded up every single post-FLOTUS appearance.

Under Armour's latest campaign is celebrating the power of female athletes

Jessie Graff, Alison Désir, Natasha Hastings and Zoe Zhang also appear in the ads.

See pics from the first-ever all-black Pirelli calendar featuring Naomi Campbell, RuPaul & Lupita Nyong’o 

Diddy, Djimon Hounsou, Duckie Thot and others appear in the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed shoot.