A French swimmer who lacks legs and arms has successfully swum the frigid waters separating Alaska and Russia with the aid of paddle-like prosthetics. Seeking to raise awareness of the abilities of handicapped people, Philippe Croizon, whose limbs were amputated after an accident at age 26, completed his dream of swimming between five continents.
At the time of the accident Croizon was 26-years-old and married, with one son, and another baby on the way. During his recuperation in the hospital he saw a television program about a female channel-swimmer, who Croizon said inspired him. He began a regimen of swimming, training for over five hours per day with the Maritime Gendarmerie, the French marine police, in the sea near La Rochelle. He experimented with different prosthetic limbs designed for swimming, with fins attached to the stumps of his legs.
This year in April, Croizon announced a new project, to swim four straits separating five continents. The planned trips included Australia to Asia, across the Red Sea (linking Asia and Africa), the Straits of Gibraltar (linking Africa and Europe), and the Bering Strait (linking Asia and America). On September 18, 2010, at the age of 42, he swam across the English Channel in less than 14 hours. And if that isn’t impressive enough, Croizon also wrote a book entitled J’ai décidé de vivre (I Decided to Live), using a speech-to-text computer system and has also made a parachute jump.