London Olympics: 'Sculling Sloth' makes name for himself in rowing

August 01, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Niger's Hamadou Djibo Issaka during the rowing competition on Tuesday.
Niger's Hamadou Djibo Issaka during the rowing competition on Tuesday. (Rainer Jensen / EPA )

LONDON — Rower Hamadou Djibo Issaka of Niger doesn't have an Olympic medal,  and judging from his performance here, he's not likely to get one. But he does have a cool nickname: "The Sculling Sloth," which was pinned on him after he finished last in his qualifying heat of the 2,000-meter single sculls Saturday, trailing the winner by more than a minute and a half.

But the 35-year-old gardener, one of just three athletes representing his country in London, starting rowing just three months ago. And he promises he'll be back — and be better — four years from now in Rio.

"I have no technique," he confessed. "I only have strength."

And speaking of Rio, the closing ceremonies of the London Games are still more than a week away, but Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, is already fearing his place in the spotlight.

It's become customary for the mayor of the current Olympic city to hand the Olympic flag over to the mayor of the city that will host the next Games. That means London's often unpredictable Boris Johnson will do the honors this year — and that's what worries the Brazilian.

"I'm just scared he'll do something crazy," Paes said.


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