On this day 7 August Cold war

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1987: Chilly swim thaws Cold War relations

An American woman has become the first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union.
Lynne Cox, 30, took two hours and six minutes to cross the Bering Strait which separates the Arctic and Pacific oceans - and the two superpowers.

She swam the 2.7 miles (4.3 km) from Alaska to Siberia in a bathing suit despite warnings the temperature of the water - which is frozen for most of the year - was dangerously low at around 5°C.

Experts believe she succeeded because of a combination of determination and her own body fat which insulated her like a seal.

Ms Cox who weighs 13 stone, has about 36% body fat compared to the average for women of between 18-25%.

'Thrilled'

After completing the crossing Ms Cox said she was thrilled by the help she had received from the USSR.

"It's the best, it's more than I ever imagined - to have them open their door and let us land on their shore.

"Having that support from the Soviets and having them help us get into shore and meeting us was wonderful," she said.

The crossing was the latest in a series of endurance swims undertaken by Lynne Cox.

At the age of 14 she swam the 31- mile-wide (49 km) Catalina Channel in southern California.

In 1975 she became the first woman to swim the 10-mile (16-km) Cook Straits in New Zealand in a time of just over 12 hours.
 

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