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The Human Polar Bear: Lewis Gordon Pugh on the Discovery Channel

28th June 2010

Tonight Lewis Gordon Pugh stars in an incredible documentary on the Discovery Channel about his swim in the Arctic ocean – a feat thought impossible prior to his achievement.  On May 22nd 2010 he swam for a kilometre in the 2’C water at an altitude of 5,300 metres beneath the summit of Mount Everest, wearing only his Speedos and a swimming cap.  Lewis is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean in the world, earning him the title of the ‘human polar bear’ and the documentary explores why he wanted to do it, and also how he manages to deal with the difficulties of his extreme challenges both physiologically and psychologically.  His first ever swim took place at the North Pole in temperatures that would kill a noraml person. Lewis’s aim is to unify the potential of his mind and body using the latest in cutting-edge science and critically his own level of self-belief, and his desire is to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.  In Antarctica the Himalayan glaciers provide a water supply for 2 billion people – almost a third of the world’s population – and Lewis’s practice swim in Lake Imja highlighted the plight of the glaciers because the lake, which was first seen in 1958, is now 2 kilometres long. 

Lewis initially studied law at the University of Cape Town and the University of Cambridge, and his experiences have led him to become not only an incredible swimmer but also a keen environmentalist and keynote speaker on leadership.  Lewis currently speaks at around 100 events every year in Europe, the US, and South Africa and his speech on Leadership at the Business Innovation Forum Conference in the United States was voted one of the “7 most inspiring videos on the internet”.  He is a very engaging speaker and his book ‘Achieving the Impossible’ discusses the journey of redefining what is possible, and pushing the boundaries in terms of achievement. 

Lewis has had a very busy month with press commitments and book signings in both London and Cape Town.  He recently met with the President of Nepal and took part in a panel discussion on Radio 4’s Midweek with Libby Purves and Tony Benn, and will no doubt soon be on the lookout for his next impossible challenge.   


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