Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic is set to go on his greatest adventure. This time, his feat will truly be on the world's stage with the United Nations at his back.
With an impressive news conference held at the UN Building in New York, Marcos announced his One Man - Five Continents - Many Voices initiative.
Between May and August 2010, Marcos will connect the five continents of the world with four tough swims, touching eight countries, called the Swim Across The Continents with the United Nations:
The first swim will unite Oceania to Asia when Marcos swims 18K from Wutung Village in Papua New Guinea to Mabo, Jayapura, Indonesia. The second swim will unite Asia to Africa with a 26K swim from Perim Island in Mayyun, Yemen to Fagal in Djibouti. The third swim will unite Africa to Europe, 18K from Marruecos, Morocco to Tarifa, Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar.
The final swim - a really tough one in extremely cold and treacherous waters - will unite Europe to the Americas when Marcos replicates Lynne Cox's famous 1987 4K swim between Big Diomedes Island in Russia to Little Diomedes Island in Alaska.
The logistical challenge in getting to these locations is only one obstacle. In the first swim in Papua New Guinea-to-Indonesia in May, Marcus will avoid the rainy season and large ocean swells, but the expedition to the start area will take some time. In the second swim from Yemen-to-Djibouti in Juen, the primary obstacle include travel to the starting point as well as currents, sea life and security (against Somalia pirates). The third swim in July across the Gibraltar Strait will be relatively easy to accomplish relative to the other swims. The final swim across the Diomedes Islands will be in late August where logistics and water temperature will be the primary obstacles (Marcos will wear a wetsuit on this swim).
Marcos' initiative is to call attention to the UN's Millennium Development Goals, "The poverty gap is still much too wide around the world. With this initiative I hope that all of us, rich and poor, government and business, men and women will come together to realize how far we are still from complying with the Millennium Development Goals agreed by the United Nations almost 10 years ago."
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, welcomed Marcos' athletic and political initiative as did Wilfried Lemke, Special US Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, "[His swim] has inspiring symbolic power. It demonstrates how interconnected we are in this world and that objectives and efforts to promote development and peace are truly global."
At his press conference, Kiyo Akasaka, UN Under Secretary-General for Public Information, Felipe Payano, Minister of Sports of the Dominican Republic, Ambassador Federico Cuello Camilo, Representative of the Dominican Republic, Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, and the UN Representatives of Djibouti, Indonesia and Senegal were in attendance as well as representatives from Papua New Guinea, Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Russia and the USA.
Marcos describes his project as "a swim across all the continents, raising the voices of the world to show that, after all, we are not far apart. To inspire us, to view all countries as one, to stand up and act, to make a difference and demand real changes to humanity."
A bold inititiave with a powerful message by an ambitious ambassador of swimming who will touch the hearts of many as he crosses the world's waterways.
In Spanish, Marcos said, "Este proyecto motivará a las personas a levantarse y ser tomados en cuenta. Este no es mi nado sino el de todos." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in Spanish, "Dada la necesidad de mantener vigentes los Objetivos del Milenio, me gustaría dar la bienvenida a esta iniciativa."