For better and (only sometimes) worse, elite athletes are our role models. We admire their discipline and commitment; their strength and skill inspire us to reach higher in our own lives. When I talked to alpinist Hilaree O'Neill last month by cell phone from Everest Base Camp, I was blown away by her dedication to the mountains. Would I or could I spend 10 weeks hunkered down on the frozen flanks of the highest peak in the world? Probably not. But I can, would, and did spend 10 days finding my own edge in France, and whenever my conviction wavered, I thought of Hilaree. Badass.
But you don’t have to be pro to make a difference. Last week, outdoor gear giant The North Face launched a new Facebook app called Role Models, which encourages everyday adventurers to become outdoor mentors. The idea is simple: Make an online pledge to get outside this summer, and take someone with you.
A Florida fisherman accused of dragging a biologist from the seafloor by her dive flag and line was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge Wednesday after a month-long investigation. The 74-year-old fisherman, Donald A. Bamford, was angry that the biologist’s dive flag was in his fishing spot, and he proceeded to pull up the diver, Alison Johnson, in less than a minute. Once topside, Johnson began suffering from a severe headache and was unable to convince Bamford to allow her to dive and decompress. She was subsequently taken to the hospital and treated for decompression sickness. Johnson was collecting data on mutton snapper spawn before the incident. Bamford has been released after posting $2,000 bail.
Michael Phelps won the 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic trials on Sunday to secure a spot in all eight swimming events at the London Games, though he'll only race in seven. Phelps started slow and made the turn in sixth place, but he sped up on the return lap to pass leader Tyler McGill for the win. He touched at 51.14 seconds, the fastest 100-meter time in the world this year. "That was a pretty crappy first 50 and a pretty terrible finish," said Phelps, who holds the world-record time at 49.82. Phelps will compete in the 100 and 200 butterfly, the 200 and 400 medley, and three relays. He dropped the 200 freestyle, which he won in the U.S. trials, to focus on the other events. Phelps won gold in every event in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Slovakian rider Peter Sagan took the first stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, reeling in Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland in a sprint finish in Seraing, Belgium. "I was the only one who could follow [Cancellara]," Sagan said. "I was tight behind him. I was just happy to stay on his wheel." At 22, Sagan is the youngest cyclist to win a Tour stage since 1993, when a 21-year-old Lance Armstrong took stage eight. Cancellara, who won Saturday's prologue in Liege, maintains the overall lead.