France - United States - Russia

French limbless swimmer completes intercontinental swim challenge

AFP/Philippe Huguen

Quadruple amputee Philippe Croizon swam between islands in the icy Bering Strait Friday to cross from America to Asia completing his bid to swim between all continents.


The Frenchman braved strong currents and near-freezing temperatures in a roughly four-kilometre swim between the US island of Little Diomede and Big Diomede in Russia.

He said it took about one hour and 20 minutes.

London Olympic Games 2012

"We made it," said the 44-year-old, who was accompanied by long-distance swimmer Arnaud Chassery, 35.

Since May the pair have swum across three other straits separating the continents and Friday's was the last.

They swam to the limit of the territorial waters separating Russia and the US and then continued a few hundred metres into Russian waters, thus entering Asia.

Over the past three months,Croizon and Chassery have swum:

  • From Papua New Guinea to Indonesia - Oceania to Asia;
  • Across the Red Sea from Egypt to Jordan - Africa to Asia;
  • From Spain to Morocco - Europe to Africa.

Croizon had all four limbs amputated in 1994 after being struck by an electric shock of more than 20,000 volts as he tried to remove a TV antenna from a roof. He uses flippers attached to prosthetic limbs to swim.

He said his accomplishment was a message of encouragement to other disabled people.

“I tell them: 'Everything is possible, everything can be done when you have the will to go beyond yourself'. We're all equal, disabled and non-disabled people on all continents," he said.

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