Lynne Cox swims from USA to USSR in 1987

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Recently I came across this documentary on the BBC website about the open water swimmer Lynne Cox. Back in 1987 she swam between the islands of Little Diomede (USA) and Big Diomede (USSR territorial waters) across the Bering strait.

This 2.7 mile swim in near freezing waters was both an incredible feat of endurance and also broke a cold war taboo. The water was near freezing and Cox regularly had to check her hands and feet weren’t about to snap off like icicle stalagmites.

Against her expectations the USSR delegation which met her on Big Diomede were very welcoming. Gorbachev was said to have told Reagan he was  ‘well impressed’ on a visit to Washington later that year.

Have a listen to the BBC Witness podcast which I have preserved for eternity on Mixcloud.

James Mullarkey

I write about the web and digital, mediocre sporting performances and places I've been, for this blog and only this blog.