Beyond The Lane Lines: Brisbane 2032 Updates & Russian Neutral Paralympic Uniforms

Get your news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’  With each edition, we collect personal stories, little-known facts, and general items of interest from around the world. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 Icelandic President Takes Part in Remembrance Swim

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson participated in an annual swim in remembrance of Guðlaugur Friðþórsson’s rescue effort.

According to The Iceland Monitor, the aquatic event recognizes a 1984 boating accident that resulted in Friðþjófsson swimming 6k in bad weather and the icy cold sea to shore, followed by walking over a lava field to the town of Vestmannaeyjar.

Nearly 40 athletes swam in the event that’s been taking place since 1985 with each swimming various distances. Jóhannesson’s Facebook post indicated he swam 1km.

55-year-old Jóhannesson is the 6th president of Iceland and entered office in 2016. He was reelected in 2020 but revealed in January of 2024 that he would not be seeking a 3rd term.

Guðlaugssund var þreytt í dag. Fólk syndir þá allt að sex kílómetrum til að halda á lofti því afreki Guðlaugs…

Posted by Forseti Íslands on Tuesday, March 12, 2024

#2 France to Propose Russian/Ukraine Ceasefire During Olympics

During a recent interview with hosts of the Unified Ukrainian telethon, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that his nation would propose to Russia the establishment of a ceasefire, one that would span the duration of the Olympic Games.

Two months later while meeting Chinese President Xi Jinpin, Macron once again called for a truce during the world’s largest multi-sporting event.

“The world is far from being tranquil and, as a permanent member of the United Nations, China calls for a worldwide truce during the Olympic Games,” Xi said last week. (Politico)

Macron reiterated the statement, saying, “I thank you for showing your desire during our talks to ask all parties to have an Olympics truce.

The Olympic Games are set for July 26th through August 11th. Late last year, the International Olympic Committee revealed that Russian athletes can participate in the Games under a neutral flag.

#3 Russian ‘Neutral’ Paralympic Athletes to Have Special Uniforms

The International Paralympic Committee has approved specific outfit colors for the Russian national team’s athletes potentially competing as ‘neutrals’ in Paris. The squad will be wearing varying shades of turquoise and beige.

Pavel Rozhkov, the president of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) told state-run news outlet TASS recently, “In line with the requirements on the neutral status participation of athletes, all national colors are prohibited from being displayed on uniforms and, in our case, this means the white, blue and red colors.

“We continue to work actively with designers to prepare samples of athletic apparel.”

Rozhkov said Russia hopes to have 108 Paralympians representing 7 of the 22 sports disciplines at this summer’s Games.

#4 Retired Olympic Medalist Mack Horton to Race in Ironman

Australian Olympic champion Mack Horton may have announced his retirement from competitive swimming this past January but the 28-year-old is not resting on his laurels.

Instead Horton took on the Ironman 70.3 Geelong tis past March, contesting the trio of 1.9km swim, 90km ride, and 21.1km run. This marked his 2nd triathlon race as he debuted at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast in September 2023.

Horton finished 451st among all 1018 athletes and placed 388 among the 790 men.

Horton’s career highlight came at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where he captured a gold medal in the 400 free with a personal-best 3:41.55 at 20 years old.

At the 2019 World Championships, he staged a silent protest by refusing to share the 400 free podium with four-time defending champion Sun Yang, whom Horton had called a “drug cheat” at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Yang was later dealt a four-year ban for allegedly interfering with an attempted drug test, which is keeping him out of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

#5 Queensland Considered Abandoning 2032 Olympic Games Hosting Duties

A report by 9News Queensland political editor Tim Arvier in March revealed that the Queensland government looked into renouncing the 2032 Olympic Games in view of rising costs.

“Tonight I can reveal the Queensland government sought advice and considered canceling the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games. Amid controversy and public backlash over stadium plans, including the knock-down and rebuild of the Gabba, the government asked for advice about the potential cost and legal fall-out involved in abandoning the Games.” (9News)

Arvier said he was told that the reply was that getting out of hosting the 2032 Games would cost at least A$500 million in compensation. Moreover, promises attached to the Games of A$3 billion in funding from the Australian federal government would have been canceled. (A$1 = $0.65 U.S.)

Against this, the Queensland government decided to go ahead with the 2032 Games, not only because of the “better value for taxpayers” but also for the state’s reputation. (9News)

One particular venue which caused contention was the Brisbane Cricket Ground, ‘The Gabba’, which was originally set to be demolished and rebuilt to the tune of $3.4 billion. The Queensland government said it didn’t accept that view, and would opt for “a more modest enhancement of the existing facility” instead. (Government News)

“One of their recommendations would have meant the demise of the Gabba, which is something we couldn’t accept for such a beloved venue,” Premier Steven Miles said in a statement.

“And while the concept of a new stadium at Victoria Park has merit, the uncertainty around final cost means it is unfortunately not an option.”

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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