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 athletes around the world in their non-aquatic habitats, helping us get to know them for more than just an event ranking or time on a board. Read on and learn something new this week.
#1 – Alain Bernard is Special Olympics Ambassador
4-time Olympic medalist Alain Bernard has been named France’s Special Olympics Ambassador. The 35-year-old retired freestyle ace has been on-site at the Special Olympics World Games, which have taken place in the city of Abu Dhabi this week. The international sporting event welcomes more than 7500 athletes representing 174 nations across 24 sports disciplines.
“With Special Olympics athletes, going beyond your limits makes sense,” said Bernard. “Their courage, their determination, their joys and their disappointments are the same as the greatest champions, and force admiration. Because living with a mental handicap means being confronted by others, I am proud to help put in the light those who are too often left behind by society.”
#2 – Natalie Coughlin Inducted Into Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame
On the heels of having been inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor earlier this month, Natalie Coughlin was also entered into the Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame. The 3-time Olympian who earned a total of 12 medals over the course of her Olympic appearances grew up in Vallejo, learning to swim in the old Cal Maritime Pool.
Of her induction, Coughlin said, “It’s really exciting because even though the size of the town is relatively small, there has been a lot of great athletes to come from the area – CC Sabathia, myself, Jeff Gordon and a lot of others.”
#3 – C1 & Leigh Russell Among Most Influential Women
As published in The Sydney Morning Herald earlier this month, two women associated with Swimming Australia were among the list of 50 women identified as ‘having the biggest impact on the Australian sporting landscape.’
Cate Campbell (C1), Olympic gold medalist and World Record holding swimmer, as well as Swimming Australia Chief Executive Leigh Russell were both named to the list that recognized women both ‘on and off the field.’
C1 is cited for ‘becoming an influential voice for women in sport and athlete rights and welfare’, while Russell became the first-ever female CEO of the nation’s top Olympic sport.
#4 – Possibly the Youngest Olympian Ever
Along with surfing and climbing, the sport of skateboarding is set to be part of the Summer Olympic Games for the first time next year. Part of that milestone may be the fact that Britain’s youngest-ever Olympian may wind up qualifying for the edgy activity.
Sky Brown has just received UK Sport funding last week to fuel her bid for a Summer Olympics appearance in Tokyo. If she makes the team, she will be just 12 years and 12 days old when the Games open. That would eclipse British swimmer Margery Hinton as the youngest Brit at a Games, with Hinton having appeared in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam at just 13 years of age.
Already a professional skateboarder, Brown lives in Miyazaki, but spends must of the year in the U.S. and has already appeared in Nike advertisements.
Per our research, China’s Nian Yun is the youngest-ever Olympic medalist in the sport of swimming. At 13 years of age (+287 days), Nian was a member of China’s silver medal-winning women’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.