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Ripples #21

Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples artGwyneth Paltrow Burned in Freak Accident
— Swimming Pool Prevents Worse Injury

According to an article on Torontosun.com, Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who bought a rotisserie barbecue last year, suffered a freak accident this past summer while cooking duck for a family gathering. Paltrow described the incident during an appearance on Britain's “The Graham Norton Show”:
“You have to put drip pans underneath the duck, but I'm such a moron that I didn't realize one of the burners was on underneath the drip pans, so one of the pans caught fire. I don't know if you've ever seen duck fat on fire, but it's like a nuclear weapon; the whole thing exploded, and we had to throw bits of it in the swimming pool.”

Although Paltrow’s eyebrows were burned off, she suffered no major injuries. Whoever had the presence of mind to throw the burning mess into the family pool may have prevented even more serious burns.

Paltrow won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1998 for her performance in the movie “Shakespeare in Love.” Ironically, she has become something of a celebrity chef in the years that followed.

Crane Hoisting Swim Spa Tips
Over and Crashes Into Home

In a classic “It seemed like a good idea at the time” moment, homeowners in Shoreview, Minn., hired a crane to hoist a fiberglass swim spa into their backyard — only to have the crane tip over and come crashing down onto the roof of their garage.

An electrician who was working at the site used his cell phone to videotape the moving operation — and managed to capture the dramatic mishap in the process. The swim spa vessel landed on a backyard fence but was not irreparably damaged.

According to a report on the accident on the Web site www.kare11.com, “The crane company…told the homeowner, who did not want to be interviewed, that a computer error is to blame for the mishap. They said there was a lot of margin between the pool’s weight and what the crane could handle. No one was hurt in the accident. The homeowner says the crane company is doing everything to make things right, including covering the costs of the damages.”

Video: To watch the unfortunate event unfold, click here. The real action starts about two minutes into the video. And a word of caution: As might be expected under the circumstances, the crane operator and an onlooker used some strong language in reacting to what transpired.

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South African Swimmer Attains
Olympic Dream After Losing Leg

In 2008, South African swimmer Natalie du Toit realized her lifelong dream by qualifying for the Olympic Games in Beijing. Nothing particularly extraordinary about that – except for the fact that when she was 17, du Toit was struck by a car while she was riding a scooter; as a result of her horrible injuries, her left leg had to be amputated at the knee.

Recalls du Toit in an article on CNN.com: "My parents and a couple of friends kept saying that I was pulling myself up on those triangles that are above the bed, saying that I need to keep training, because my Olympic trials are coming up. Back in my mind I never ever wanted to give up swimming, it was something that I would carry on with."

The determined young athlete underwent physical training for a number of months – and three years after the accident, she competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, where she garnered five gold medals.

“She finally realized her ultimate goal in 2008 in Beijing,” noted CNN.com “when she made history by becoming the first female amputee swimmer ever to qualify for the able-bodied Olympics. In Beijing, she finished 16th out of 24 competitors in the 10,000- meter race.”

Her inspiring accomplishments have been recognized by former South African presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

Streaker Leaps into Kansas
Public Pool Filled With Kids

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” Dorothy famously announced in the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy probably would have said the same thing had she witnessed a recent incident in which a stark naked, 20-year-old man first jogged next to a busy highway and then jumped into a public swimming pool full of children.

Of course, this is 2011, not 1939, and Dorothy would have been wrong. The untoward incident indeed did take place in The Sunflower State, on the outskirts of Kansas City.

The British Web site dalymail.co.uk (which revels in such bizarre stories…not that Ripples doesn’t) reported the following:

“The man, who has not been named, then hopped over a fence and into the pool filled with dozens of children, some quite young. The pool cleared in a matter of seconds and the man was left wading around by himself. Police were quickly on the scene and managed to coax the man out of the pool, while shocked mothers and their children looked on. They escorted him away in handcuffs – and a towel – to Kansas University Medical Center for an evaluation.”

The naked gentleman will not face charges, The Daily Mail added.

Video: For better or worse, a quick-thinking, fully clothed citizen took out her cell phone and captured the whole thing on video. (Don’t worry, dear reader, certain body parts have been blurred out.) To see the clothing-free episode, click here and scroll down.  

Program Teaches Latino Parents
And Kids How to Be Safe in Water

A previous issue of WaterShapes EXTRA! ran an item about the pressing need for more swimming education among America’s minority communities – including, but not limited to, African-American youths.

In California’s Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, a program called Vamas a Nadar (“Let’s Go Swimming”) instructs Latino parents and children on the principles of water safety and teaches the kids how to swim.

According to an article on the Web site pressdemocrat.com, “the bilingual program was launched after a rash of Latino men — 12 between 2000 and 2004 — drowned in [Sonoma County’s] Russian River. It is grant-funded and organized by the Red Cross and local parks-and-recreation departments. Since 2004, 1,200 to 1,500 children have gone through the program.”

Water-related deaths in Sonoma County reportedly have gone down steadily since the program began seven years ago; in 2010, there were no such deaths in the county.

Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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