09 Feb Motivational stories. Phillipe Croizon.
Dakar is also a motivational story. In the case of the French Philippe Croizon, it is the way to prove himself that impossible is nothing. This disabled athlete of 47 years accepted the huge challenge of this motor adventure and is trying to complete all 8,823 kilometers of this edition without both hands and feet in a specially equipped vehicle in Berlin.
His contagious smile reveals that, despite adversities, Croizon wants to challenge the so demolisher statement: “you can’t”. In 1994, at the age of 26, he got his four limbs amputated following a 20.000 volt electric shock while he was repairing a television antenna on the roof of his family home in the town of Saint Rémy-sur- Creuse.
Instead of letting life overtake him, this French decided in 2010 to accept his first great challenge: swimming across the Channel. “It was an idea that was hanging around long before it was achieved … it started while I was in hospital recovering from the accident. I was at that moment that I decided I should go with this feat not only for myself, but also as an encouraging message for all those mates of misfortune who have lost interest in life. “
He spent 13 hours in the water connecting the coasts of France and England all across the Channel; then proposed to link all five continents swimming. In May 2012 completed the test between Australia and Asia – 20 kilometers between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia – in seven and a half hours; In June he crossed the Red Sea from Egypt to Jordan -19km- in five hours and in July completed his feats crossing the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa to Tangier -14 kilometers- in less than five hours.
He sounds good-humored and playful: he conveys happiness, joy and desire to live. Both, in the prolonged preparation for this Dakar and in his three crossing days, he enjoys complicity with his co-driver Cedric Duple. That illusion contrasts with his booming statement within an interview with the BBC, where he confessed that during the week after the accident, he preferred to die.
“The family helped me a lot to go through those hard times: both, my wife Suzana and my children Jérémie and Grégory. I apologized with death because I beat it and decided to live, “explained Croizon, who also holds the 33-meter deep diving record for a quadruple amputee achieved in 2013 at Nemo 33, an aquatic complex located near Brussels.
In 2016, Croizon’s personal challenge went even further: he got Dakar into his head. To achieve this goal, he needed to be accepted by the organization as part as the legendary caravan and then get an adapted vehicle, as had already done Albert Llovera, Isidre Esteve or Alberto Prieto.