DAKAR - Remember Eric "The Eel" Moussambani, splashing through one of the slowest ever 100 metres freestyle heats before a roaring Sydney Olympics crowd after training in an Equatorial Guinea hotel pool?
Or Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, the short-sighted ski jumper from Britain? The Jamaican bobsleigh team of 1988?
For many, the heroic underdogs who finish last embody the Olympic spirit, but Lamine Gueye, who was the first Winter Olympian from Africa, fears modern qualification standards are squeezing them off sport's biggest stage.
"The Olympic philosophy is that the whole world takes part.
"You have the best in the world but you also have representatives from the lesser countries," Gueye, who made his Olympic debut as an Alpine skier in Sarajevo in 1984, told Reuters.
For him, that changed when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced more stringent qualification standards for the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
Gueye, competing in his third Winter Games, found himself restricted to a single event while a younger Senegalese teammate was barred because he was too far down the world rankings.
In a highly critical book published this year, called Skieur Senegalais Cherche Esprit Olympique (Senegalese Skier Seeks Olympic Spirit), Gueye tells how he started protesting against the new standards.
First he wrote an open letter to the IOC and the International Ski Federation (FIS), whose rankings formed the basis of the qualification system, appealing to them in the name of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement.
An Olympic official told Reuters the global federations for individual sports set qualification criteria but Gueye said having them at all was pandering to the limits imposed by television coverage, which accounts for a huge portion of Olympic revenues.
When he tried to take his protest on to the slopes, with "Olympic Spirit?" emblazoned on his ski helmet, officials threatened to ban him because the logo could have been construed as an advertisement.
He removed the message to avoid being disqualified.
The skier is named after his grandfather, a Socialist politician elected to the French parliament during the colonial era who gave his name to a law granting French citizenship and rights to all inhabitants of France's overseas possessions.
"My grandfather instilled his values in me - values of defending just causes and fighting for the things that I believe are important," Gueye said.
"The struggle has moved on to sport, where it is about fighting corruption, fighting for progress."
Gueye got hooked on skiing after seeing snow for the first time at a boarding school in Switzerland.
He made the French national junior ice hockey squad only to miss the European Championships when he crashed his scooter in a Paris street three days before the event.
He threw himself into the international ski scene with equal vigour, hitch-hiking across the Alps to competitions and begging for or borrowing skis and other gear from rival teams.
He registered the Senegalese Ski Federation without telling the international federation he was the only member.
Gueye is still president of the federation and these days has four skiers competing internationally, sometimes against fellow black African competitors from across the continent.
It is all not bad news for underdogs. They can still compete through wild cards - which allowed Moussambani and Edwards to take part. - Reuters