A double winter Olympian is swapping the toboggan run for the high seas to raise money for an Island charity.
André Usborne competed in the 1984 games in Sarajevo, the same year Torvill and Dean won gold, as well as the 1988 competition when Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards was hitting the headlines. He represented the UK in the Luge Toboggan singles. For 18 years André also took part in the Cresta Run in St Moritz.
He’s now in training for the third Wild West Solent Swim in August, in aid of the West Wight Sports Centre. This year will see 70 swimmers head out from Hurst Castle to Colwell Bay on 18th August. They’ve already raised over £7,000 for the charity, and will be hoping to beat last years total of £31,000.
“When I started doing the Cresta Run and then Luge tobogganing most people thought I was mad” explains André.
“When I tell people I am going to ‘Swim the Solent’ they say the same thing – so I suppose you could say there is a connection? My time on the ice involved me going very fast down a track made of water, this year I will be going much much slower through water!
I really enjoy the camaraderie of these sort of events which are a bit of a challenge for everyone – after all, it’s only really a bunch of amateurs going for a swim in the sea for a good cause isn’t it?”
40 kayakers will be accompanying the swimmers, along with a small flotilla of boats and ribs. If you are interested in helping out on the day contact centre manager Clare Griffin on 01983 752168.
You can also sponsor the swimmers via the website www.solentswim.co.uk