A Londoner apparently in the grip of Olympic mania had to be rescued by lifeguards in the south of France after he set off from a beach - to swim to the U.S.
The unnamed 34 year old holidaymaker told his friends on the beach at Biarritz that he was off to New York to carry the Olympic spirit across the Atlantic.
They thought he was joking but knowing that he was a strong swimmer decided to let him go telling him that a boat would come to rescue him if he got into difficulty.
Then, watched by lifeguards on the shore, he continued swimming until he was out of sight on his 3,594-mile journey.
The lifeguards called out a helicopter and a diver dropped into the sea and explained to the man that it was not a good idea to swim across the Atlantic and advised him to head back towards France.
He replied that he was a strong swimmer and felt up to it. At the same time lifeguards arrived in a rescue dinghy and threw the eccentric a line before towing him back to the beach.
Laurent Saintespes, senior officer at Biarritz airbase told Agence France Presse, ‘He was a bit naive.But at a time when the Olympics are taking place in London you have to see the funny side of things’.