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 – Michael Phelps Throws First Pitch at Diamondbacks Game
American Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, is retired from the sport and enjoying his life as a father to Boomer and Beckett, with a 3rd child on the way. But the 23-time Olympic gold medalist who resides in Arizona makes regular public appearances, including on the mound at a recent Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball game.
Throwing out the first pitch, Phelps’s long-armed warm-up couldn’t prevent his toss from coming in a little on the high side, but it made it over the plate nonetheless.
As part of the Diamondbacks’ Swim Night raising awareness for drowning prevention, Phelps stuck around for an exclusive Q&A session for VIP ticket holders. The GOAT threw out the first pitch at this same Drowning Awareness night last year.
#2 – Strobe Lighting Helps Level Field for Deaf Swimmers in England
Swim England and UK Deaf Sport are continuing to make strides in leveling the playing field for deaf swimmers in the nation. As part of an ongoing project, an unprecedented number of facilities in England which host level-one and level-two meets have been equipped with strobe lighting to ensure deaf swimmers have equal starts to their peers.
George Wood, Swim England’s Sport Development Director, said: “I am delighted that this project is pushing forward and we now have more facilities that host level-one/two meets able to provide equal starts for deaf swimmers. This will help to further improve the experience for athletes in swimming and keep the sport at the forefront of inclusive sport. We are grateful for the support provided by UK Deaf Sport.”
#3 – Mario & Sonic at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
Gaming company Sega announced a new game this week entitled Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, whose premise is taking players back in time to the previous Games in which Tokyo played host back in 1964.
8-and 16-bit versions of Nintendo and Sega characters play Olympic sports in 2D, including track and field events, diving and gymnastics. An additional 21 events will be developed in 3D, including the four new Summer Olympic Games sports events of sport climbing, surfing, skateboarding, and kumite.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be released Nov. 5 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
#4 – U.S. Olympic Trials Tickets Selling at Record Pace
The Omaha Herald reports that tickets for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials are selling at a record-setting pace, with the lower bowl of the CHI Health Center already sold out for all 8 days. The competition is set for June 21st -28th, with sales ahead of 2016’s pace, with all 15 sessions selling out at that year’s edition of the competition.
Sports Commission officials also said that more than 80 percent of the all-session tickets sold have been purchased by those living outside the Omaha metro area.
“Fans are clearly excited to see America’s top swimmers battle in their final competition on home soil,” Omaha Sports Commission President Josh Todd said. “People wanting good seats should purchase their tickets soon.”
“The best of the best from across the country have their sights set on Omaha, and positions on the U.S. Olympic team will be on the line every day,” USA Swimming Cheif Operating Office Mike Unger said. “The new four-day packages offer a tremendous way to experience what will no doubt be an incredibly memorable event.”