Limbless man swims from England to France 四肢截肢男子从英国横渡英吉利海峡到法国
To cross the English Channel – the stretch of water between England and France - is no mean feat. At its narrowest point, it is 34km wide - a big challenge for a good swimmer, let alone for one with neither legs nor arms. But being a quadruple amputee did not prevent 42-year-old Philippe Croizon from doing exactly that.
Against all odds, the Frenchman, who had his limbs amputated after he suffered an electric shock 16 years ago, completed the crossing in less than 14 hours.
He used prosthetic flippers to propel himself forward and the stumps that were left of his arms to stabilise himself on the water.
The crossing was hard but Croizon never gave up. He said: "My back hurt, my chest hurt, my shoulders hurt, but at no point was I going to abandon this swim."
"I"ve done this for myself, for my family, and for all my fellows in misfortune who have lost their taste for life," the swimmer added.
It is not the first time Croizon has made headlines. He became famous in 2007 for parachuting from an aeroplane and wrote a book about his experiences.
It took him two years of preparation to cross the Channel. He trained for 35 hours a week.
This will to overcome adversity also motivated many of the athletes seen at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
Specially-adapted wheelchairs, blades to be used instead of legs and other equipment can help their performances but tenacity is their main tool.
The South African disabled swimmer Natalie du Toit is missing part of her left leg but she keeps her focus. "The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals; the tragedy of life lies in not having goals to reach for," she says.
The first ever monitored swim across the Channel was by Englishman Matthew Webb in 1875 and took almost 22 hours.
The record for crossing the channel is 7 hours and 3 minutes, set by the German swimmer Christof Wandratsch in 2005.
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