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Underdogs come to the fore at the Olympics
12:16pm Tuesday 18th February 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WHEN the dust settles on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, there will be plenty of memorable moments, good and bad.
Lizzy Yarnold's gold for Great Britain in the women's skeleton, the snowboarding and the double disqualification of short track skater Elise Christie.
But while such events create the drama, it is the endearing stories of the underdog that really encompass the Games.
In no other arena would competitors so polar opposites in ability go head to head in the pursuit of success.
Yet we take the likes of the Jamaican bobsleigh team to our hearts because they embody what the Olympic movement is all about - participation for all.
No matter that they stand virtually no chance of troubling the medals, Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon are capturing everyone's imagination.
It was the same with the legendary Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards who represented Britain in the ski jumping in 1988 despite being totally unfunded and being unable to see half the time because his glasses continually fogged up.
The Summer Olympics of Sydney in 2000 featured Eric Moussambani Malonga, better known as Eric the Eel, who entered the swimming for Equatorial Guinea.
His only experience in the water had been in a lake in his homeland and he had never seen a 50-metre pool.
Yet, in finishing the 100m freestyle in a time slower than the 200m world record and still progressing due to others being disqualified, he became a celebrity.
None of this is meant to be patronising. Everybody loves an underdog and you can always count on the Olympics to provide them.
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