Philippe Croizon – Keynote Speaker

Philippe Croizon is a French athlete and the first quadruple amputee to swim across the English Channel

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Specialist Subjects

  • Resilience
  • Change


  • French


His amputations were required due to a severe electric shock accident which occurred in March 1994. At the time, Croizon was employed as a steelworker at the foundry of Poitou, 26 years old and married, with one son; his wife was expecting a second child. At his home in Saint-Rémy-sur-Creuse, Vienne, while standing on a metal ladder on the roof to work on a television antenna, Croizon received a severe electric shock from a high-voltage power line which earthed (grounded) through the ladder, to which he became adhered. Twenty minutes passed before a neighbour could raise the alarm. He was hospitalized in Tours, where doctors removed his left arm above the elbow, his right arm below the elbow, then his right leg above the knee. Surgeons had thought that the left leg could be saved, but when that also required removal, Croizon reported feeling “despair”

During his recuperation in the hospital, he saw a television programme about a female channel-swimmer, who Croizon said inspired him. He began a regimen of swimming, training for over five hours per day with the Maritime Gendarmerie, the French marine police, in the sea near La Rochelle. He experimented with different prosthetic limbs designed for swimming, with fins attached to the stumps of his legs. One set of specially designed prosthetics cost €12,000, and are made from carbon and titanium.

On Saturday, 18 September 2010, at the age of 42, he swam across the English Channel in less than 14 hours. He set off from Folkestone at 06:45, arriving at Cap Gris Nez at 20:13, a distance of 21 miles (34 km).

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