Outside Edge

Click to follow
The Independent Online

This weekend marks the release of 'Big River Man', an odd little movie which was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It tells the story of Martin Strel, an 18-stone, 52-year-old Slovenian, as he attempts what is believed to be the longest ever swim, 3,274 miles from the source of the Amazon to its estuary. It took the part-time guitar teacher 66 days, swimming 10 hours a day in piranha and crocodile infested waters. He lost 36lb. "I'm a big man, sure," he said, "but the Amazon is so much bigger." A training regime of two bottles of wine each day helped him to float like a cork, but he must have a screw loose. Now he's thinking of swimming around the world.


Cost of playing a round with Eye Candy Caddies. The ladies have been banned from sharing their top tips at four golf courses owned by Leaderboard, who say: "It damages the reputation of the sport." Carry on carrying the clubs, girls.

Teenage angst of the week

Life's so unfair! All 13-year-old Laura Dekker wanted to do was become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. And her parents were happy for her to undertake the two-year mission. But she has been placed under the protection of social services in her native Holland after she was picked up by police in Lowestoft when she just decided to sail to England in May. Better news comes from China where the world table tennis champion, Wang Hao, has finally been allowed to get a girlfriend at the age of 25. He began dating team-mate Fan Ying five years ago but the national coach banned him from seeing her and threw her off the team. At least now all the pimples are on his paddle.

Good week for

England men's hockey team, won European Championships after beating Olympic and world champions Germany 5-3 in the final... Jack Nicklaus, golf legend is chosen as honorary starter at The Masters with Arnold Palmer, only the eighth player to receive the honour... and Hilary Lister, the first female quadriplegic to sail solo around Britain, steering her Artemis 20 by blowing and sucking on straws.

Bad week for

Two intruders at the Queensland home of the daughter of Donna Fraser, who fled after the 72-year-old former Olympic swimming gold medallist struck one of them in the groin with her titanium knee... World Bowls Tour's International Open, its second most prestigious tournament, cancelled after the BBC decided not to cover it... and the Football Association, following E.ON's decision not to renew sponsorship of the FA Cup – on top of the demise of Setanta.

Pecking orders of the week

Americans are doing their bit to fight off the recession this weekend at the "Super Bowl of junk food", the National Buffalo Wing Festival in New York State. Last year 78,000 competitors scoffed a record 27 tons of chicken wings, and the organiser Drew Cerza has calculated that the US can "eat its way back to prosperity" and add $27 billion to the economy in a year if every American eats one extra order of wings per month. If you think Britain's response to the credit munch should be more austere then head for Newent, Gloucestershire, for next weekend's onion-eating contest. The record for eating a six-ounce onion stands at 1min 36 sec. And if you don't win, you can shed a tear.