Thursday, August 09, 2012

Olympics mystery man

I brought this up on fb, but I'm doing it again here because a) we never reached a satisfactory answer, and b) more people will see it here and maybe the mystery will be solved. I can't believe more people aren't talking about THIS:
A closer look:

Still closer:

The context: my family and I watched pretty much every Olympic swimming race there was. We never, ever spotted this guy in a box under the water. Then came the women's 4x200 relay. And there he was.

Who is he? Why is he there? Why do we get to hear the answers about why divers go in hot tubs, or why the USA women's gymnastics team wore their hair in slicked-back ponytails, but not why the heck there is a guy in a box under the pool during the women's 4x200 relay?

Some possible explanations:

1. He is a turn judge. BUT NO: from this vantage point, he can't really see the swimmers when they turn.

2. He is some kind of photographer. BUT NO: he can't even maneuver himself into a comfortable shooting position in that cramped space. Also, he doesn't appear to have a camera.

3. He is there to alert the medics in case one of the swimmers starts to drown.

4. He is there to operate the underwater cameras.

5. He is some kind of stroke judge. I don't know enough about this to know if that's feasible.

I think explanation #4 is the most likely. But it's still weird, because it's such a cramped space, and he wasn't there for every race, just the women's 4x200 relay.



Jessie said...

omg that is hilariously weird. Totally tweeting this.

breanne said...

And where is his oxygen? Mask? Anything? Am I just missing it, or is he just holding his breath?

Bridget said...

I think it's a sealed window that he's looking through at the pool. But having it open to the water would make this an even more interesting question.

Bridget said...

Please let me know your findings!

Liz Johnson said...

What I think is funny is how bored he looks. He's just like, "meh, found a box to sit in." Hahahahaha.

Señora H-B said...

I can't wait to find out the results of this post. Awesome.

Katie said...

I'm with you on this, Bridget. I noticed the same thing and it's been bugging me! So random. Maybe he's a ghost?? :)

Alanna said...

I totally thought he looked dead. I'm glad you mentioned the window theory in the comments, because I was getting spooked...

Ariana said...

So I asked my good friend who was an amazing swimmer in college and considered aiming for the Olympics (but I think her education was more important to her at the time....) Here's what she said:

"Haha, I hadn't heard about this picture! So this appears to be an underwater viewing box to me. Likely it is a room that is typically used for filming one's stroke from underwater in order to get a better stroke evaluation (like during pra
ctice during technique work). If I am right, the room is bigger than what you see and this man is just sitting on the ledge of the window. Why he is sitting there, I can't say for sure. I don't know if this picture was taken during a race or warmups or what.
I don't think he was managing the underwater camera since as the swimmer gets further away from him, he will have a lot of difficulty judging their distance from him- I think that camera would be managed by someone up high. Coaches like to
evaluate swimmers both during practice swims and races since some swimmers change their technique (or lose their technique altogether) during races, so it could possibly be a coach. It is also possible that it is a turn judge, although a judge can see everything they need to see from above the water, and at most events that is where the line judges will be- is above the water on the deck looking over the edge at the swimmers as they turn. So, I can't solve this for you, but those are my thoughts on it! Sorry I couldn't be of more help."

Kitty Crazy! said...

My comment is about the gymnast's hair. Have any of these people complaining about her hair ever tried to do gymnastics w/o a slicked back ponytail? It would fly everywhere!

Bridget said...

Hmm. I am intrigued by the idea that he could be sitting on the ledge of a windowsill that is part of a bigger room. I think your friend's explanation is the best yet!

Jessie (above) got an Olympic swimmer to reply to her tweet re: this post but it didn't shed any further light on the matter.

Bridget said...

Yes, that was one criticism that I just didn't understand. And why do we care how they style their hair, anyway? Though I will say I'm glad the super glittery and clippy and scrunchied buns are out of style these days. So I guess I'm a hypocrite.

Jessie said...

Jon said that there was an Olympic-sized pool near his hometown and that there was a little room underneath the pool deck with a viewing window. So yeah, what Ariana's friend said. I reread Breeja's tweet as though she had assumed everyone knew about these secret underwater rooms, and it made more sense then.

Mystery solved, I guess, though it's still pretty weird that that guy is crammed into the window sill like that.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Most amusing to me about the phantom guy is that in every race after the women's 4x200, we hardly watched the swimmers; we were looking for the guy in the underwater window!


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