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 – Aliaksandra Herasimenia Models Belarusian Olympic Kits
Belarusian Olympian Aliaksandra Herasimenia may have retired from competitive swimming, but that’s not stopping the 33-year-old from still being involved in Tokyo fever.
Herasimenia, who took 50m freestyle bronze in Rio at the last Olympics, joined double Olympic rhythmic gymnast Ksenia Sankovich in modeling Belarus’ kits for next year’s Games.
The outfits are were designed by Belarus-based companies Solo-Pinsk and Svitanak, with the garments dominated by white and blue, with some red mixed in as well.
Herasimenya said the kits “have a new great design that is recognizable from afar”. We are happy with the fabric, it is very light and breathable,” she added. “I think this is the best design for Tokyo.”
#2 – Barcelona Medalist Kyoko Iwasaki Named To Olympic Torch Relay
The 200m breaststroke gold medalist at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Kyoko Iwasaki, has been named as one of the athletes partaking in the torch relay for the 2020 Olympic Games. She was just 14 years of age when she took gold in Spain.
Iwasaki is slated to carry the torch in her home prefecture of Shizuoka and says, “I want to enjoy the experience for myself and carry the torch with utmost care.”
Other torchbearers announced include Japan rugby captain Michael Leitch, sumo grand champion Hakuho and Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara.
All told, the Olympic torch will travel to 47 prefectures of Japan, visiting 857 local municipalities along the way, with the goal of igniting Olympic and Paralympic enthusiasm across Japan and around the world. Around 98% of Japan’s population lives within one hour by car or train of the proposed route of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay.
#3 – Jacek Czech Earns First-Ever Guttmann Award
Provided by Jacek Czech.
Jacek Czech, this year’s silver medalist of the London 2019 World Championships, was elected by the supporters’ votes as Athlete of the Year 2019 at the 1st Gala of the Polish Paralympic Committee. The laureate received the statuette of Sir Ludwig Guttmann. The gala was honored by the presence of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda. Amongst other attendees were the newly elected President of WADA Witold Bańka and the newly elected Minister of Sport Danuta Dmowska-Andrzejuk.
Czech earned the World Championships silver medal in the 50m backstroke S2 in London this year. After the success, he did not hide his satisfaction not only with the place on the podium and with acquiring the Paralympic qualification for the country to Tokyo 2020, but also with setting a life record at the age of 43.
During the Paralympic Gala, Jacek Czech did not hide the joy of triumphing in the Plebiscite and receiving Guttmann!
“This statuette will have great value and weight for me. It not only looks beautiful but also weighs a lot. And how many? I will tell you exactly, it weighs 15 years of hard work. Thank you to all those gathered here at the Gala, but also to all athletes who fight their own weaknesses in sports arenas and also cheer me not to give up. You are the champions!”, said Czech.
“If you decide to move, nothing will stop you.”
#4 – 2020 European Championships Mascot Revealed
The 2020 European Aquatics Championships are slated for May 11th through May 24th and we know at least one spectator who will be attending.
With less than 150 days to go until the Championships, LEN President Paolo Barelli helped reveal Alfred the otter as the mascot for the event, which is taking place in Budapest, Hungary.
“Hungary is one of the strongest nations in aquatics with outstanding traditions, huge successes in the pool and a fantastic partner of LEN in hosting our major events from time to time” the LEN President said in his speech.
“We all know that the Hungarian Government offers firm support for the local sport and aquatics have a special place here but we all see that your swimmers constantly deliver brilliant results as a great return.”
#5 – Daiya Seto Loses Luggage On Way Home From World Record
Olympic medalist Daiya Seto ended his 2019 calendar year on a high note, having broken the men’s short course meters 400 IM mark at the International Swimming League’s (ISL) inaugural championship meet. In Las Vegas, Nevada, 25-year-old Seto got his hand on the wall in a time of 3:54.81, overtaking American Ryan Lochte’s previous WR time of 3:55.50 that had been on the books for 9 years.
After topping the podium and helping Energy Standard claim the first ISL championships trophy, Seto arrived back home in Tokyo, but without his luggage. Per Japanese media, returned to Haneda Airport on December 23rd, but his luggage did not come along with him. The star swimmer reportedly had to retrieve it at a later date when it finally arrived at the National Sports Science Center.