What makes someone a hero?

You can list all the qualities which make someone a hero: brave, resilient, self-less, kind, thoughtful… Well a news story about 80 people joining together to save a group of swimmers struggling in a rip tide has all the signs of heroic action.


Derek Simmons who was on the beach in Florida said that he spoke to another guy on the beach when he noticed the swimmers struggling, “Let’s try to get as many people as we can to form a human chain”. He explained that if you know about ants, you know when one’s in trouble they form a chain to help it. His theory was to get enough people to get out there and pull them in and then everybody could finish having a good rest of the evening. More and more people on the beach responded to the cries to join the human chain so that in the end up to 80 people joined together to reach out and save the young kids and their grandma.

As it is nearly the summer holidays and lots of you will be heading  to the beach here are some words of advice on riptides. Firstly learn how to spot a possible riptide:


It is actually the calm looking water in the middle which is the rip current, as explained below:


I know that when I have been on holiday in Cornwall that the lifeguards have marked out the safe places to swim with their flags. But if you look just to the left of the swimmers and surfers area that calmer looking water which looks so inviting is actually the dangerous rip. The picture below advises you to escape a rip current by swimming or preferably floating, horizontal from the shore, away from it:

escape a rip

Fu Yuanhui talks about her period

I think even in the UK girls and women don’t talk that openly about their periods and how it affects their bodies, both physically and emotionally. It’s almost taboo in the UK too.

Well in certain parts of the world it is even more of a ‘no-go subject’ – you’d never talk in public, never mind to the media, about how your period has affected your performance. So it comes as a welcome breath of fresh air that China’s Fu Yuanhui spoke openly about how coming on her period the day before a big Olympic swimming final meant that she was not on top form. Fu said: “I didn’t swim well enough this time,” and apologised to her team-mates. “It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired – but this isn’t a reason, I still didn’t swim well enough.”

The Guardian reports on how the swimmer has gained lots of support for her frankness, especially in China where only 2% of women reportedly use tampons, something which makes swimming whilst on your period, safe and easy.

Periods are something which can make sporting life a tiny bit more complicated for girls and women. They have to make sure they have tampons or sanitary towels at the ready when they want to do sport comfortably and confidently, even when they are on their period. The Bodyform brand had a new ad campaign this summer reminding women that you shouldn’t let your period hold you back no matter who you are. Periods shouldn’t stop us from keeping fit. The tagline, discussed by advertising websites, is ‘no blood should hold us back’ and their video shows tough women pushing themselves so hard in sport and adventure that they draw blood. Watch it here: youtube

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Fu Yuanhui had already gained lots of media attention for her bubbly honest interviews. One of the best is shown in a Guardian article when she felt disappointed with her swim and then belatedly discovers she won a bronze.