The 2009 Speedo CAN-AM Para Swimming Championships are being held July 30-31, Aug 1 at the Kinsmen Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB. Heats: 9:30 am – 12 pm; Finals: 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Swimmers with a broad range of disabilities (functional, visual, and intellectual) will be attending from Canada, the United States, Australia, and Nigeria. For more information on the competition check here.
This is a video featuring twenty-six year old Nick Vujicic who was born without arms or legs. He is a young Australian man who has found strength through his faith and is inspiring many people through his motivational speaking. More information on his life and work can be found at lifewithoutlimbs.org.
More videos of Nick and some of his talks can be found on YouTube. Seeing him navigate through some of his daily routine gives interesting insight into what many able bodied persons may take for granted. It was especially thought provoking to see him jump into a pool and swim! See here.
[picture of Natalie Du Toit preparing to dive into the pool from what appears to be a dustjacket for a book; small, typed writing on bottom half of page]
Natalie Du Toit, an amputee swimmer who qualified for the able bodied 10 km swim in Beijing, has just placed 16th in that event, more than one minute behind winner Larisa Ilchenko of Russia. She had kept up with the lead pack for most of the race but could not keep up when the pace quickened in the latter part of the race. She was disappointed with her result hoping for a top five placing. She plans to be back in the London 2012 Olympics in that event. She will be staying in Beijing for the next month to compete in the Paralympics.
Cullen Jones, only the second African American to ever swim on the US Olympic swim team, won a gold medal in the 4×100 free relay that broke the world record and also upset the French team in an unbelievable comeback finish.
Cullen, who nearly drowned as a young boy, is also a spokesperson for USA Swimming’s Make a Splash program which is promoting swimming among minorities. It has been shown that among ethnically diverse groups, they are nearly three times more likely to drown than the national average.
You can see a range of other sports-related posts at What Sorts right here
With less than three weeks prior to the Beijing Olympics, the South China Morning Post has reported that bar owners in the Sanlitun district have been instructed not to serve persons with dark skin. The article reports:
Bar owners near the Workers’ Stadium in central Beijing say they have been forced by Public Security Bureau officials to sign pledges agreeing not to let black people enter their premises.”Uniformed Public Security Bureau officers came into the bar recently and told me not to serve black people or Mongolians,” said the co-owner of a western-style bar, who asked not to be named.
Although some query the validity of this report, it is creating quite a buzz in the blogging world. Read further on this story here.
Since seeing an announcement about USA Swimming’s selection criteria for the 2009 Deaflympic Games in Taipei, Taiwan, I was reminded of a deaf swimmer that I grew up swimming with in the 1970s. Her name is Shannon Brophy and she broke a world record for the deaf in the 200 meter breastroke back in 1977 at the Deaflympics in Bucharest, Romania. She came in third at the 2005 World Master’s Games in Edmonton in the 50 meter breastroke competing against non-deaf athletes of her age group. She grew up swimming with the North Edmonton Sharks swim club for many years and was the first swimmer with a disability that I knew as a child.
It is interesting to note that the Deaflympics, held every 4 years, and are the longest running multi-sport event excluding the Olympics themselves. The first games, held in Paris in 1924, were also the first ever international sporting event for athletes with a disability.