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Eric "the Eel" Moussambani made being bad at the Olympics good. Or cool, anyway.
Jackson Niyomugabo will continue the tradition of unlikely Olympic swimmers when the Rwandan competes in the 50-meter freestyle this week in London. He learned his sport from a French textbook and by watching meets on TV because he didn't have a coach.
"The Eel" gained worldwide fame by struggling in the 100 free at the Sydney Olympics. While he honed his skills back home in Equatorial Guinea in a hotel swimming pool and sometimes a river, Niyomugabo trains in Lake Kivu, the shimmering body of water that separates Rwanda from Congo.
His most precious tool is easily the book titled "The Secrets of Swimming Development."
And although it's in French, and Niyomugabo doesn't read French, he compares the illustrations in it with what he sees on television and goes from there.
"My main coach all my life has been this book," says the 24-year-old Niyomugabo, a two-time Olympian. "It was an extremely difficult way to learn. I would sit for hours ... staring at the TV."
But a lack of coach hasn't stopped him. He swam in Beijing, where he didn't make it past the preliminaries but has higher hopes this time. Way higher.
"I want to win a medal this time," he says. "And why not?"
Gerald Imray Twitter http://twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
EDITOR'S NOTE "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item, and get even more AP updates from the Games here: http://twitter.com/AP_Sports