Man Tries to Swim Atlantic to Spread Olympic Spirit, Rescued at Sea Shortly After Departure

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A London native on vacation in France and apparently overcome with Olympic mania had to be rescued after attempting to swim to the U.S.

The unnamed 34-year-old told friends on the beach at Biarritz that he was off to New York to "carry the Olympic spirit across the Atlantic."

That's almost 3,600 miles. He probably made it at least 1-2.

Atlantic Swimmer

His friends thought he was joking, but knowing that he was a strong swimmer, decided to let him go, figuring he'd turn around or be rescued if needed.

The man swam beyond buoys 300 yards out to sea, past the legal limits for bathing, then continued swimming out of sight, raising their concerns.

Lifeguards called in a helicopter, which spotted him well offshore. From it, a diver dropped into the sea and urged the man to head back to France.

He replied that he was a strong swimmer and felt up to it. By that point, lifeguards arrived by boat and encouraged him to ride back with them.

Wisely, he took them up on the offer.

Laurent Saintespes, senior officer at Biarritz airbase, said, "He was a bit naive. But with the Olympics taking place in London you have to see the funny side of things."

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