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A Swimmer Leading a Football Nation

Highlight

The Football World Cup in South Africa is the main attraction in world sports in 2010, but what has swimming in common with this sport in Brazil, the most successful soccer nation on the planet? The answer can be found at the Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, a club that boasts one of the biggest army of fans of the Beautiful Game around the world – and since January one that is presided over by a woman: the former Brazilian Olympic swimmer Patricia Filler Amorim.
This 41 year-old mother of four boys wore the colours of the yellow and green flag at the Olympic Games in Seoul 1988. Today, she is in charge of a club with about 35 million fans – and that’s just in Brazil. The passion for Flamengo is so strong that it is called the “Red and Black Nation” and to be President of this “state” pushed Amorim into the realms of celebrities: she is in constant media focus. In spite of being confident in this new position, Amorim is still uncomfortable with her newfound celebrity status. “When I was a candidate I didn’t think about that! It was better, because if I realised it I would have given up!” she jokes. “More seriously, I’m trying to appear only when it is essential.”

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Building beauty

Highlight

credit: gettyimagesIn synchronised swimming, what do the Olympic gold performance and the 24th place of the duet event have in common? What is the shared experience of the winner of a World Championships’ medal and an athlete coming from an emerging country? Two things: many hours of endless work and choreography in the water. For many years known as “aquatic ballet”, synchronised swimming’s main addedvalue is the display of a complicated figure routine in an element that makes things more difficult to achieve, namely the water.

Many who have once watched a synchronised swimming routine, either on TV or at an international competition, recall the moment as amazing. It all looks so effortless, while the fitness of the swimmers and their radiant smiles stand out as an important prelude to their stunning performance in the water.
If synchronised swimming is often seen as a breath-taking expression of artistic beauty, one often overlooks the technical skills and hard work that athletes endure to achieve excellence.

What steps are necessary for such excellence and success? We put that question to experts in the field. Experienced coaches Denise Sauvé (CAN) and Anna Tarrés (ESP) have placed their teams at the top of the synchro world hierarchy, with Canada winning two bronze medals (Solo Technical and Combination) and Spain sweeping one gold (Combination) and six silvers (Solo, Duet and Team events both Technical and Free) at the 2009 FINA

World Championships in Rome.
The coaches join Virginia Jasontek, FINA Technical Synchronised Swimming Committee (TSSC) Honorary Secretary, and Jenna Randall, the British synchro swimmer, in sharing their keys to success and commenting on the recent evolution of the competition format.

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YOG Singapore 2010: Closing Ceremony highlights success of the Games

Youth Olympic Games

The Closing Ceremony of the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games brought a spectacular and emotional end to 12 days of world-class sporting competition and cultural and educational activities in Singapore on August 26, 2010. While addressing to the athletes, the IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “You thrilled us with your splendid performances. But, more than that, you inspired us with your enthusiasm, your spirit and the sheer joy you brought to the task of competing, learning and living with fellow athletes from around the world. You have learnt what it means to be a true champion, not simply a winner. You have shown us that a new generation is ready to embrace and share Olympic values.”

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Discover Masters World: Bernice Orwig (USA)

Masters

2000 Sydney Olympics. Women’s water polo is played for the first time at the Olympic Games. Atop the podium stands Australia, second is the USA and third Russia. American silver-medallist Bernice Orwig was among those to write the first page of water polo Olympic history.

Ten years later, we meet her at the FINA Masters World Championships in Boras (SWE, for water polo only), where she takes some time to talk about her fantastic Olympic experience and how her passion for the sport has continued to exist since.

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Discover Masters World: Lori Crawford & Penny De Meules (USA)

Masters

“I learned to swim on the Internet”
Five years ago, Lori Crawford did not know how to swim. Today she is 33 and is competing in synchronised swimming at a World Masters championship for the second time! How did she go from zero swimming skills to performing synchro routines? Here is the story.

It all started with a free gym membership. Where Lori used to live at the time there was a gym with a pool. One day, she decides to take it to the water and soon realise that she does not know how to swim. “Ok, I have to fix this,” she tells herself.

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Discover Masters World: Olga Larissa Vargas (MEX)

Masters

Two months ago, Olga Vargas from Mexico did not know whether she would be able to compete at the FINA Masters World championships or not. Like some others, the economical aspect almost jeopardised her Masters participation. Today, the 30-year-old leaves with happy memories from Gothenburg having bagged two gold medals, one in Solo and another in Duet, with swimming partner and long-time friend Nara Lorena Falcon.

Background: an early start
As a matter of fact, Olga’s success finds its roots in a former elite career, which stretches from 1997 to 2004. Before getting started with synchro at 11, Olga had already six years of gymnastics under her belt!

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YOG Singapore 2010, Day 11: Aquatics programme closes with last gold for China in diving

Youth Olympic Games

China closed the Aquatics programme of these Youth Olympic Games with the gold of Bo Qiu in the men’s 10m platform. If we consider Swimming and Diving (the only FINA disciplines represented in the competition), it was China’s 15th gold, after earning 11 titles in the pool (out of 34 races at the Singapore Sports School) and all the four events contested in Diving (at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex). Following his triumph in the men’s 3m springboard (China brought the same athletes for the 3m springboard and 10m platform: among men, Bo Qiu, and in the women’s field, Jiao Liu, also victorious on two occasions), Qiu got an easy win in the 10m platform, concluding first with a total of 673.50. The final was marked by a 20-minute break due to a malfunctioning in the lighting towers (between the fourth and fifth round of dives).

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Discover Masters World: Lucia Molnarova & Veronika Strapekova (SVK)

Masters

One of these 13th FINA Masters World Championships’ latest sensations was revealed with Slovakia making its first appearance in the Team and Combination events at world level. Overall, the Slovakian ‘mermaids’ proved themselves tremendous performers, picking up three golds in Solo (swum by Lucia Molnarova), Team and Combination and one silver medal in Duet (swum by Lucia and Veronika Strapekova) in Gothenburg (SWE).

Lucia, 26, and Veronika, 32, who both swim for the Iuventa Bratislava in Slovakia, explain what lies behind their success: “Some teammates have swum at very high level”, says Veronika, who represented Slovakia at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. As to Lucia, she swam at Open level until 2006.

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YOG Singapore 2010, Day 10: Rain is no pain for unstoppable Jiao Liu (CHN)

Youth Olympic Games

It was theoretically not an easy final for Jiao Liu. The Chinese star had won the 10m platform in Day 1 of the diving programme at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex of these Youth Olympic Games, and surely wanted to demonstrate that she was the best female diver of the competition by triumphing also in the 3m springboard. Then, came the natural elements, a pouring rain during the final’s time, which is always something that disturbs in a variable extent the athletes. Finally, Liu was under the direct scrutiny of her compatriot and best female diver of history, China’s Jingjing Guo, witnessing the competition from the stands.

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Discover Masters World: Mayumi Ochiai (JPN)

Masters

Mayumi Ochiai (JPN) - credit: Sarah ChiarelloFinding a pool nearby in Japan is quite a challenge and Mayumi Ochiai is a case in point. Living in the crowded centre of Tokyo, the 28-year-old takes half an hour in her car to get to the pool where she practices synchronised swimming twice a week, between two and four hours, with her coach.

But distance is no obstacle for Mayumi, who came all the way to Gothenburg (SWE) to compete and enjoy her third World Masters experience, after Stanford (USA) in 2006 and Perth (AUS) in 2008.

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