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Man who swam Channel with no arms and legs 'happiest alive'

[ 2010-09-20 14:12]     字号 [] [] []  
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A French father-of-two who swam across the Channel 16 years after losing all his limbs in an electrical accident said Sunday that he was "the happiest man alive."

A French father-of-two who swam across the Channel 16 years after losing all his limbs in an electrical accident said Sunday that he was "the happiest man alive."

Philippe Croizon, a 42-year-old former metalworker, said he had performed his feat to inspire all those "who think life is nothing but suffering."

He set off from Folkestone in southern England just before 8:00 am on Saturday, and arrived on the French coast near Wissant just before 9:30 pm, propelled by his specially designed flipper-shaped prosthetic legs.

Steadying himself with the stumps of his arms, Croizon kept up a constant speed in good weather and was accompanied by wild dolphins for part of the 33-kilometre (20-mile) crossing, his support team said.

"For a while, I didn't realise what I'd done. It was only that night, when I went to bed, that suddenly I burst out laughing, and told myself, 'You did it!'," he told AFP by telephone from his home in northern France.

In 1994 Croizon was hit by a 20,000-volt charge as he attempted to remove a television aerial from a house roof and an arc of current surged through him from a nearby powerline.

"I was on my hospital bed, they'd just finished cutting off my last leg. You can imagine how that felt. And then I saw a television documentary on a female swimmer who crossed the Channel," he explained.

"There and then, I asked myself: 'Why not me one day?'," he said.

Croizon trained for two years and last month completed a 12-hour swim between the ports of Noirmoutier and Pornic on France's Atlantic coast, but his final Channel crossing was much faster than he had anticipated.

"At one point I told myself, 'Woah, slow down, you'll never get there if you try to keep up this speed'. I wanted to slow down, but I couldn't. The motor was running," he said, adding that he had expected to be at sea for 24 hours.

"It was huge. I was in the zone. I was inside my head. I didn't want to disappoint anyone," he said, declaring that his next long-distance challenge will be to swim between Europe and Africa.




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