Mimosa Jallow And Other Top-Notch Names from the European Championship

Mimosa Jallow is the name of a pretty good sprinter from the country of Finland. It also could just as easily be the name of an alcoholic dessert.

While covering the European Championships this week, I’ve come across some pretty good names, but Mimosa Jallow really stands out. But she’s not the only great name on display in London. Most, like Jallow, are funny when plucked out of their own language context and dropped into English.

These are the thoughts you have as you stare at a long list of names you probably cannot pronounce. Before you tar and feather me for cultural insensitivity, I’m willing to accept that “Chris DeSantis” sounds like the words for “Idiot Coach” in Hungarian.

Shouldn’t Adam Peaty be from Scotland?

Switzerland has a swimmer named Martin Schweizer. Which is kind of like if there was a British swimmer named “Jonny Britisn”, or a French swimmer named “Rene Francais”. Coming in close behind him is Kaan Tuerker…of Turkey.

The second best name on Finland’s team is Fanny Teijonsalo. Mimosa and Fanny on the same relay!

Other names you dread seeing until they achieve success over and over again. The best contemporary example is Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Somewhere around 2011 she passed from “dear god how do you spell that” to “got this…kromo-wid-jojo”. For the time being, here are some swimmers with potential that haven’t crossed over yet into certainty:

  • Hrafnhildur Luthersdottir (she’s getting close!)
  • Panagiotis Samilidis
  • Maarten Brzoskowski
  • Wojciech Wojdak

Lastly, some names are easy to spell, familiar, but still get me. Israel has both a Guy and a Gal (both male) on their squad. Britain’s 4×200 prelim relay led off with Coates and followed with Hattersley. I can only assume Glover and Boots were unavailable for the next two legs.

Lastly, if you speak Danish like me, you can’t pass over the name “Andrea Kneppers” without a minor giggle. I’m losing my mind.

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Eric Lahmy
6 years ago

You know, they are a lot of things to say about names. Mine signifies “The Friend”, but also “the crumb” (la mie) in French, “The Meat” in Arab, and believe it or not, “Bread” and “Wine Bearer” in Hebrew! Funnier, I met a Laotian Woman, gave her my name, and she answered: “La-Mi? Are you Laotian?” “Lotte” (of Lotte Friis) is a fish in French, Connery (of Sean) means “bullshit” in French, Gross (of Michael) means… gross, in English and big, or fat, in French, and unhappily for all the “Nick” of swimming (Gillingham, and so on), resonate as a very, well, say, bad word in French and in Arab… And according to my perspective, I know there is something… Read more »

6 years ago

Loved this article, we need more of this on swim swam haha

About Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis is a swim coach, writer and swimming enthusiast. Chris does private consulting and coaching with teams and individuals. You can find him at www.facebook.com/cdswimcoach. Chris is a 2009 Graduate from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first professional athletic coach …

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