Like in every competition he joined, Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena’s funky socks were noticed during the men’s pole vault final of the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
The 26-year-old wore a pair of blue cookie monster socks in the tournament where he bagged the bronze medal, posting the Asian record of 5.94 meters.
Obiena is known for wearing pairs of socks featuring cartoon characters during his tournaments, just like the iconic mismatched SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick socks he wore during the Tokyo Olympics last year.
During a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Obiena was asked if the pair of socks he is wearing during competitions is “sort of a message or part of the fun” of his performance.
The pole vaulter responded that wearing those socks reminded him not to “pick himself too seriously” during competitions.
“What does an athlete do when he gets overwhelmed or something? You look at your feet, right? When you see that funky socks you just remember that ‘I’m still doing a this is still a sport and this is still something I should enjoy’” he said.
Social media users recognized his Cookie Monster socks during the recent tourney.
“Pag nakamedal si EJ Obiena dito dapat maawardan din yung medyas niya,” a Twitter user said.
“Feeling ko Iconic socks ‘tong suot ni EJ Obiena hehe,” the same user said.
“That cookie socks of EJ Obiena. Yeahhh,” a Twitter user also said.
“Ang ccute talaga ng mga socks ni EJ Obiena,” another Twitter user also said.
In the qualifications for the Athletics finals, EJ wore a pair of yellow SpongeBob SquarePants socks.
Obiena started wearing funky socks in 2020.