Wednesday, August 20, 2008

El mejor ecuatoriano en Beijing


Jefferson Perez won Ecuador's second Olympic medal! He also won their first in Atlanta. He's now retiring from international competition at the age of 34.
Exhausted, almost numb, Jefferson Perez brought an end on Saturday to a career whose spirit went beyond the borders of his native Ecuador to turn him into a Latin American hero.

When I had just started living there, I remember Ecuavisa held a month long competition to decide the Greatest Ecuadorian Ever or something. They showed biographical features every night and then people called in to vote. There were military heroes and founding fathers. I think the only one I managed to watch was Jefferson Perez... and he won! Ecuadorians love them some "Jeff". There's a Trole stop named after him and everything. Mostly I remember all these intense statistics about how he's literally a better human being than the rest of us... he has 40% more lung capacity than the normal athlete and eats enough for a family of four, etc.

OOOOH... I was trying to fact check my vague memory of this and immediately found the video on youtube! Sweeeeet. The competition was for "Mejor Ecuatoriano de Todos los Tiempos" and Jeff came in second (after Eloy Alfaro.) He was first in "Mejor Ecuatoriano Vivo." The best part starts around 7:00... those great statistics, Jeff singing the national anthem all by his lonesome in Atlanta, and little Ecuadorian kids enthusiastically racewalking. Yes, Ecuador's most famous athlete is a racewalker.

And now, in non-Olympic news, here are a couple of stories about my genetic make-up.

All Blue Eyed People Related to Brad Pitt
According to a new paper by a Danish researcher, blue eyes come as the result of a single mutation that occurred 10,000 years ago. Which means that all people with blue peepers have a common ancestor.

Skin test shows if you're late or early riser
Today, a study confirms the emerging view that almost every cell in the body also contains a clock and, in particular, shows that skin cells can be tested to reveal if a person has a genetic propensity to like lie-ins, burn the midnight oil or get up at the crack of dawn... Skin cells are much easier clocks to study than the one in the brain and the team obtained the cells from 28 volunteers and inserted a gene that glowed into them creating biological clocks that waxed or waned in brightness over 24 hours.

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