There have been a few memes about the Olympics, but one of the most common ones relates to how it’s completely useless to have a lifeguard at the swimming events because these guys are the best athletes in the world so it’s pretty much certain that they’re not going to drown out there.
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Check out some of the best ones below:
Truly a golden job: lifeguard at the Olympics pic.twitter.com/hmKxBLzh2N
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) July 26, 2021
If you feel useless today, remember somebody is working as a lifeguard at the olympics. #Olympics #swimming pic.twitter.com/9WexgcuNWM
— Unsocially M’idiotic (@m_idiotic) July 24, 2021
They’ve kinda got a point haven’t they?
Thankfully though one Olympic lifeguard and veteran of four separate games has decided to speak out about how their role is actually very important and we should stop taking the piss. James Meyers has been a lifeguard in Nebraska for the past 26 years and said the following about his job:
It is a misconception that we’re useless.
Unfortunately, people do get hurt so we have a role.
Of the four Olympic trials where I’ve been a lifeguard, this year was the first we didn’t have to get in the water.
It’s not just the athletes we have to look after, oftentimes you have outside groups that use the pool in between trials’ prelims and the finals.
We’re not just life guarding the athletes, we are also lifeguarding for those events.
We’ve never had to go in for an athlete, it’s always been for everyone else.
It’s kind of like the fire department. Our whole goal is to be in the background, if you have to see us generally something bad has happened.
Lifeguards at these events are mostly trained to respond to medical problems or injuries where the person can’t get out of the pool.
That is more likely to happen at Olympic trials, compared to a public pool where lifeguards are trained to respond to drownings.
OK, not really sure if that explains why there are lifeguards at the actual Olympics as he’s just talking about trials and I’m fairly sure that ‘outside groups’ don’t come in to use the Olympic pool in between races, but at least he’s trying to explain it I suppose? Not really sure if I believe him that these ‘outside groups’ come in between the prelims and the finals either – surely the pools aren’t so down on their luck that they need to get the local high school in for a two hour session in between the prelims in the morning and the finals in the afternoon? Seems very ridiculous and unlikely.
Having said that, even though there’s a high chance that it’s not going to happen, you do need a lifeguard present when people are in the pool because you never know what could go down. Even Olympic athletes could cramp up and have a hard time. Fair play to the guys and maybe we should be a bit kinder about them, especially considering they’re volunteering in most cases.
For more of the same, check out this Norwegian triathlete celebrating his gold medal by puking all over the finish line. Legend.