Quantcast
Connect with us

Dutchman swims epic ice-skating course threatened by climate change

Published

on

As Europe braces for a heatwave this week, a Dutchman is swimming the route of the country’s most famed ice skating race — which has not been held for two decades as climate change bites.

Instead of skating the 195 kilometres of the daunting “Elfstedentocht” (Eleven cities race), Olympic gold marathon swimmer Maarten van der Weijden is ploughing his way through its murky canals.

Van der Weijden passed the 172-kilometre (106 miles) mark of the course that criss-crosses northern Friesland province on Monday morning after embarking on the epic attempt on Friday afternoon.

“I love swimming, helping others and setting goals for myself,” the 38-year-old told the Christian-based broadcaster EO in a recent interview.

Van der Weijden is a cancer survivor who overcame leukaemia to win a gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing in the 10-kilometre open water race.

ADVERTISEMENT

His epic attempt is in aid of cancer research.

It is Van der Weijden’s second bid to complete the route after failing last year. He is expected back in the Frisian capital Leeuwarden by Monday evening, a livestream broadcast by the public broadcaster NOS said.

The swimmer is following the same route as the Elfstedentocht, one of the Netherlands’ most beloved traditions which is now enduring a record-equalling drought.

ADVERTISEMENT

The previous edition was in 1997, the last time the ice was thick enough to support both skaters and the hundreds of thousands of spectators that the event normally attracts.

With meteorologists predicting ever-warmer weather due to global warming, it was uncertain when another Elfstedentocht will be held again on ice.

In the meantime, Van der Weijden’s alternative marathon along the course has captured the country’s imagination.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted that the swimmer was “on course for an incredible performance”, adding: “The whole of the Netherlands is swimming with you!”.

Completing the skating race is seen as a major achievement and so important that soldiers are allowed to wear its medal, called the “Elfstedenkruisje” (Eleven cities cross), on their military uniforms.

Participants qualify for the medal after collecting stamps on a card from all the 11 cities around Friesland with the start and end in Leeuwarden.

ADVERTISEMENT

Unfortunately for Van der Weijden, he will not receive an Elfstedenkruisje at the end of his epic swim.

“Our cross is only for people who have skated the marathon. Although we applaud him, we cannot make an exception,” Immie Jonkman, chairwoman of the Eleven cities marathon, told regional radio.


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].

Send confidential news tips to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

White nationalism is ‘the greatest threat to American democracy’: Fascism expert

Published

on

On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," The Atlantic staff writer and fascism expert Adam Serwer laid out in grim terms the stakes of President Donald Trump's incitement of racist anger against Democratic congresswomen of color.

"From the beginning, we have been haunted by this question: Is America a white man’s republic or a nation for all of its citizens?" said Serwer. "Throughout the last 200-some odd years, the greatest threat to American democracy has always been white nationalism, the defining of American citizenship in racial terms. It almost destroyed the country on multiple occasions. Now President Trump has drawn a line. He has now made it clear that the citizenship of American citizens who are not white is conditional and can be revoked. Quite frankly, there is lots of disagreement between the two political parties. There are lots of issues on which we differ, but this is not a question on which there can actually be disagreement. The choice is now quite clear."

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘A failure in judgment by every single Republican leader’: Ex-GOP congressman scorches Trump’s racism

Published

on

On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into his erstwhile party for its embrace of President Donald Trump's racial hatred and intolerance, as exemplified by the crowd of Trump rallygoers in Greenville, North Carolina chanting "Send Her Back!" of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"It was heartbreaking," said Jolly, who renounced the Republican Party and became an independent last year. "In terms of what I felt, it was heartbreak, both last night and then to see the likes of Lindsey Graham [(R-SC)] today suggest that the only problem is Omar doesn’t wear a MAGA hat. If refugees would just wear MAGA hats, they could stay. The others deserve to go."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

The racist Republican Party must be ‘utterly confronted and destroyed’: Chris Hayes

Published

on

On Thursday evening, MSNBC's Chris Hayes tore into the Republican Party for accepting and legitimizing the racism of President Donald Trump and his supporters.

"'Send Her Back.' The darkest, ugliest impulses that a political movement can cultivate on full unapologetic display," said Hayes. "That's what Donald Trump has been cultivating all along. Whether the Republican Party likes it or not, it stands for it now. Most of us across the ideological spectrum feel, viscerally, a kind of moral revulsion when we hear and see an angry mob braying 'Send Her Back' about a fellow American. But the reaction from Republicans today was basically a foregone conclusion."

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image