There are a number of hybrid sports: the biathlon combines nordic skiing and shooting; the heptathlon combines seven track and field events; the triathlon combines swimming, cycling and running. So why not another hybrid – swim-fin-hurdling?
Sound crazy? Yup – but the World record is fast! In fact, heptathlete Veronica Torr from New Zealand broke the old World mark of 22.35 seconds by flipper-hurdling over the 100m distance in 19.28 seconds. While the world’s non-flippered best run the event in just over 12 seconds and credible high school athletes run in 14, she’s not far off. Especially for a flipper-foot.
You can see the World record, as it was set, in the following video. You’ll notice that, unlike the Olympic hurdles races, that Ms. Torr is grinning ear-to-ear throughout the entire race.
And for those technical hurdle experts out there, you can see the entire race in slow-motion.
When it comes to physical education, it seems that Uganda is more advanced in its thinking than many North American school boards. Rather than firing PE teachers and cutting PE from school curricula, Uganda’s ministry for education has announced that they’ll be recruiting 3600 new physical education teachers over the next two years.
In justifying this expenditure, the minister stated the well-known (but often ignored or misunderstood) rationale of improved health among students.
However, he also expressed a benefit that is overlooked in North America but is of great urgency in a country with a long history of civil war…unity!
In education minister Kamanda Bataringaya’s speech, he appealed for local leaders to support sport in their districts as a way to unite their communities. In his words: “Very many countries fight each other but when it comes to sports, they are one.”
Fitness, health, national unity.
In Bataringaya’s words, “So, education should go hand in hand with sports.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Reference: Paul Watala and Joseph Wanzusi, “Government Eyes 3600 to Train Physical Education,” AllAfrica.com, April 8, 2010.
I once coached a student-athlete who had the most peculiar study habits.
Like many students, she often found herself falling asleep shortly after opening her books. Her solution to this problem was unique. She began studying during exercise sessions. She would prop a book on her elliptical trainer or treadmill and read while pounding out the miles.
Soon, hitting the books became synonymous with hitting the gym. It became common to see her with a handful of notes while doing laps on her neighborhood indoor track. She once ran 100 laps while doing a review for exams.
When she began this routine, she could hardly be called an athlete. In fact, this study-exercise combination helped her to drop 30 pounds and elevate herself from a recreational jogger into a second-team All-Canadian runner over the course of several years.
Having seen her attempt to study on a number of road trips (10 minutes-and-asleep), I always thought that her study strategy was pretty smart. In fact, it made sense, since she was using her brain while it was in a highly oxygenated and receptive state.
However, I must admit that I considered her study habits…unusual.
But no more. A company is now selling treadmills specifically for studying and working. Trumpeting the advantages of combining physical with mental exercise, TrekDesk now makes complete workstations that fit over any treadmill and allow you to walk while you work.
Apparently and unknowingly, my student was on the cutting-edge of exercise innovation.
I have absolutely no connection to TrekDesk, but you can take a look at their website at the following link: TrekDesk
And my student-athlete who could only study while on the run? She’ll be finishing law school this Spring and will be articling with a firm she has worked with for the past two summers. They love her.
I just hope they have a treadmill in their law library.