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 – Ian Thorpe Added to Advisory Board Committee
Australian Olympic icon Ian Thorpe has joined the BlueFit Group’s Advisory Board Committee, offering the 5-time gold medalist a chance to give back to the community as well as the sport he loves. BlueFit is a company that manages 35 community-owned aquatic and recreation centers and sporting facilities throughout Australia. The company aims at inspiring community activity through health, fitness, aquatics, community, and sports programs.
BlueFIt Chief Executive, Todd McHardy said, “BlueFIt is an industry leader in progressive programs and there is great synergy between our organization and Ian Thorpe. We are delighted to have a strong association with Australia’s most decorated Olympian.
“As part of his role, Ian will visit our Leisure Centre sites across the country, support our programs, enhance our member experience and inspire the next generation of Olympic swim talent.”
#2 – Czech Woman with Disability Swims English Channel
Czech Radio reported that Markéta Pechová has become the first woman with a disability from the Czech Republic to have swum the English Channel. The 40-year-old swam from Dover, England to the French coast on Sunday, August 25th. Her total time was 12 hours and 31 minutes.
Pechová had her right leg amputated in childhood due to cancer but has competed in long-distance swimming competitions steadily. You can watch footage of her swim here.
#3 – Traffic Testing in Tokyo
Tokyo 2020 organizers tested out transportation over the weekend, giving them a glimpse into how things will work come the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games less than one year from now.
“Balancing vibrant urban activities and management of the Games is an important subject for us,” said Katsuhisa Saito, the Senior Official in charge of the Tokyo 2020’s transport strategy.
Over 11,000 athletes are slated to compete in the Olympic Games next year, with the Athletes Village situated about 14 miles from the Opening Ceremony venue. Travel time via bus is estimated to be about 40 minutes, but the test trips driven by 75 buses on Sunday, August 25th took about 10 minutes less than expected, per AFP.
#4 – Tokyo Also Using Accessible People Movers (APMs)
In other Tokyo 2020 transportation news, Accessible People Movers (APMs) will reportedly be available during the 2020 Olympic Games to assist those with mobility needs with traveling between and within venues, including the Olympic Stadium.
Toyota has announced a set of 2,700 vehicles will be available, with the APMs being electric. The company “aims to achieve the lowest emissions target level of any official fleet used at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and thereby also helping to reduce the environmental burden of the Games.”
Toyota also announced that robots will help support event operations, including having a mascot robot welcome athletes and guests to official venues. Another robot will guide guests to accessible seating seats at the Olympic Stadium and deliver drinks and other goods ordered from a tablet. (NBC Sports)
#5 – Swimming Pool Art Exhibit Opens in Edinburgh
Open for the season at Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh, Scotland through September 29th, the interactive part-art, part-pool exhibit created by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos is creating buzz. Called Gateway, the exhibit is described as ‘artwork integrated in a whimsical pool garden’. The fully-functioning swimming pool is surrounded by meticulously designed hedges and art enthusiasts can book time to actually swim in the pool.
Of Gateway, artist Joana Vasconcelos states, ‘Gateway is a big splash that invites the public to immerse in a joyful and spirited dimension, leading to a connection with the energy of the Earth. It’s like a threshold to another universe that we’re not conscious of but through which we can flow.’
Per the artist’s website, she ‘has incorporated patterns from her own astrological chart into the design of the artwork, which is made of 11,366 hand-painted and glazed tiles crafted using traditional methods at a 100-year-old factory in Vasconcelos’ native Portugal.’
The idea of the exhibit is to highlight how swimming pools and water are a crucial part of our lives and can serve as a means to connect people to both architecture and nature.
You can read more about the exhibit, as well as see pictures of the design here.