Thursday, August 05, 2021

EJ Obiena Takes SpongeBob and Patrick to New Heights at the Tokyo Olympics

EJ Obiena recently had the honor of making it to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Men’s Pole Vault finals, however, there's another reason Filipino pole vaulter has been turning heads during the Olympic games - he competed wearing an odd pair of SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star socks!

Art by James Patrick Cruz; Photo from Reuters/Aleksandra Szmigiel and Varsitarian

Competing at the pinnacle of any sports competition comes with a baggage of pressure, so EJ wore a mismatched pair of socks on August 3 to give him comfort. “I take myself a little bit too seriously because this is a competition, this is something that seems like something very serious,” said Obiena in the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association press conference, a day after the competition.

“At the end of the day, it’s a sport, it’s a game. I should enjoy it, I should not take it too seriously, that’s why I put on those socks as a reminder to not think about it too much. Enjoy, have fun,” Obiena added.

Given a chance, he would have wanted to wear socks inspired by anime My Hero Academia or Naruto, but regulations didn’t allow him to buy one.

Despite this, the two beloved Nickelodeon characters were well welcomed by Filipino viewers.

“It’s the socks that sold it for me tho,” a Twitter user said with a Philippine flag emoji.

“Great run EJ! Now, can I have your socks,” another Twitter user wrote.

“SpongeBob socks ratioed the whole Olympics,” tweeted another fan.

“Let’s take a moment to appreciate EJ Obiena’s socks. Deserved their own gold medal tbh #Olympics,” an online user said in a post.

Even House Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list) noticed the funky socks worn by the Olympian and cheered, “Go, go, go EJ Obiena! Ang cute ng socks po.”

Another social media user congratulated Obiena for his performance and noticed that Obiena’s socks may have been a reference in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, where SpongeBob and Patrick compete in the Deep Fry Pole Vault in the Fry Cook Games.

If you’re also looking for the same pair of socks worn by the pole vaulter, Lifestyle brand H&M Philippines confirmed that it is from its collection in collaboration with SpongeBob.

SpongeBob and Patrick aren't the only Nick characters honored at the Tokyo Olympics - Dutch athlete Kiran Badloe sported a haircut inspired by Avatar Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender!

Obiena unfortunately failed to bring home a medal after falling short to hurdle the 5.80 meters.

Original source: Interaksyon.

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