Jumat, 20 Juni 2008

favorite sport

Free diving: Loïc Leferme, the “Grand Bleu” generation
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The achievement was the talk of the town. It was Sunday 20 October 2002. That day, Frenchman Loïc Leferme established a new world record for no limit free diving, off the harbour of Villefranche-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes), by descending to a depth of 162 metres beneath the sea! Three times world record holder, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, this Frenchman had seen his record snatched away at the end of 2001 by American diver Tania Streeter, who took it to a depth of 160 metres. Thirty-three year old Loïc Leferme was keen to get back his record. And that is just what he did. This lanky diver, 1.77 m tall and weighing 67 kilos, with long blond hair and a gentle look in his eyes - he looks rather like the tennis player Björn Borg - loves the emptiness of the sea depths. His speciality? No limit free diving: a breath-holding free dive entailing a descent with a metal sled and returning to the surface with an airbag. Each of his dives lasts about three minutes - an eternity. "You need to be flexible both physically and mentally," he explained recently. "You have to come to terms with the environment. Like an anthropologist." To those who criticise him for being foolhardy, Loïc Leferme responds without raising his voice that free diving is not synonymous with risk, but with control of oneself and of one’s environment.

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