Tuesday, September 19|
Divers on Games shark patrol
SYDNEY, Australia -- Divers equipped with electrical
impulse devices patrolled the waters of Sydney Harbour to ward
off sharks when Olympic triathletes took their first pre-Games
dip on Sunday.
No sharks were spotted, however, as some 70 athletes,
two-thirds of the combined Olympic men's and women's triathlon
entries, swam for 20 minutes around Farm Cove in the shadow of
the city's famous Opera House.
"Sharks are not an issue," competition manager David Hansen
"Only a few international athletes said they were concerned
about a possible attack so we've brought in the divers to put
their minds at rest. The feedback I had from the athletes today
was very positive." The divers used electrical devices that
emit low frequency signals.
American triathlete Nick Radkewich said concern about
sharks was a recent development.
"We've been racing here for a couple of years and this is
the first we're hearing about it. NBC, I think, is providing
the sharks," he joked about the U.S. television network
broadcasting the Games.
"I'm thinking about 51 other competitors. We're all dressed
like seals in our wet suits. If one of them is hungry, they'll
get one of us. I'll be playing the odds."
The top-ranked U.S. triathlete, the tall, slender Hunter
Kemper, said: "I'll take my chances, one in 51.
"I like those odds. If one of them bites my leg, they'll be
like, 'no, this guy's not beefy enough' and move on."
Both agreed that a more serious concern in the triathlon's
Olympic debut is the frigid water of Sydney Harbour, which is
just 59 degrees this time of year. When water
temperatures are below 68 degrees, triathletes are allowed to
use wet suits during the swim.
"Fifteen degrees is pretty cold. When you come out your
hands are going to be cold, your feet are going to be cold," Radkewich said.
"Most of the time you start off with your bike shoes
already locked into the pedals on your bike. You run on to the
transition area, jump on your bike and start to pedal, putting
your feet into your shoes. It's a lot more difficult when you
can't feel your feet.
Most athletes also cycled for an hour and ran for 30 to 40
minutes in preparation for the women's race on Saturday and the
men's the following day.
Olympic triathletes must swim 1,500 meters round the cove,
cycle 40 kilometers and then run 10 kilometers through central Sydney to the
finish line at the Opera House.