Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2014 Contents From August 5 and every Tues-
day, T&T s Olympian swimmer
George Bovell will be writing a col-
umn called Reflections Off The
Water. In this column, Bovell will
seek to inspire by giving revealing
insights into the man out of the
swimming pool. Joshua Surtees
caught up with Bovell to hear about
some of his musings.
George Bovell is holed up in
Ann Arbor, Michigan, training
for the Commonwealth Games in
Glasgow, where he will fly out to just
days after this interview.
Towards the end of the conver-
sation which took place via Skype,
he holds up a book a friend has lent
him and shows off the cover.
"It s called Writing Down The
Bones, by Natalie Goldberg" he says,
before adding the subtitle, "Freeing
the Writer Within."
He is wondering how columnists
fill a column week in, week out, as
he prepares himself to start his own
weekly column in the T&T Guardian.
In the past, Bovell wrote for the
Express, but that was fortnightly.
The book, he says, is inspiring him.
Bovell first got enthusiastic about
the idea of writing a column after
going to Uganda in 2013 with swim-
mer friend Max Kanyarezi, to take
part in a malaria project. He came
back "fired up and full of ideas."
personal struggles, out of this micro-
cosm of esoteric stuff about the sport
of swimming that could be applied
to the wider context of life," he says.
"With some exciting first-person
But he s modest. "I m not trying
to sound like an expert. I don t want
to make myself look cool. If I can
hopefully impart some sort of inspi-
ration that will help someone out
there who s going through a hard
time I think it will have justified the
It s revealing to see the Olympian
swimmer applying himself to a field
outside of his comfort zone and put-
ting in the kind of preparation for
writing that he might devote to a
He should have no worries real-
ly---he s just spent the better part of
an hour talking about all manner of
fascinating topics: Free diving at a
depth of 117 feet while holding your
breath for four minutes; Olympic
champion Michael Phelps coming
out of retirement; security clamp-
downs at the London Olympics; the
"abysmal" swimming facilities in
T&T; the new national swimming
centre named after him; and his
proudest achievement (not winning
the bronze, the Chaconia or the
Hummingbird medals, but breaking
the world record).
It s clear from his eloquence and
the thought he puts into things that
he won t be short of things to say.
Guardian readers and the T&T
public will, no doubt, look forward
to the weekly instalments from his
life in his column Reflections Off
The Water. He s George Bovell, after
all, T&T s most recognised Olympian
after Ato Boldon and Hasely Craw-
ford. He s the winner of T&T s only
Olympic medal for swimming and
the first non-Athletics medal since
Rodney Wilkes and Lennox Kilgour
won weightlifting medals in 1952.
His writing is an outlet for a clearly
restless mind and, perhaps, a way
of diversifying his time and output
when the swimming career eventu-
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Original Star Wars actor Mark Hamill
has called his return to the franchise after
more than 30 years an "unexpected gift".
"It was certainly unexpected. I already
had a beginning, middle and end. I never
thought we'd come back," he told the
"To go on to those sets that evoked so
many memories. It is just astonishing."
He added that Harrison Ford was re-
covering well after breaking his leg on set
"I was not on set. It was really terrible
but I hear he's doing really well. It will take
more than that to stop Harrison Ford,"
said Hamill, who was speaking on the red
carpet of the UK premiere of Guardians of
The 62-year-old starred in the three
original Star Wars films, the first of which
was released in 1977.
When the franchise was revived in
2002, the Luke Skywalker character was
only seen as a baby in Revenge of the
Sith (Episode III).
The new film, which only has the work-
ing title Episode VII so far, is due to be re-
leased in 2015. (BBC)
off the water
Bovell is a four-time
represented T&T at the
Olympic Games in Sydney
(2000), Athens (2004),
Beijing (2008) and London
At the 2004 Olympics in
Greece, Bovell created history
when he became the first
swimmer from T&T to win a
medal in an Olympic event,
winning bronze in the Men's
200 metre Individual Medley
A former world record
holder, he also nabbed the
bronze medal in the Men's
100 metre IM (Short Course)
at the 2012 World Short
Course Championships in
Istanbul, Turkey, creating
history by becoming the first
T&T swimmer to win a World
He went on to have an
impressive 2013, winning
bronze in the 50m freestyle
at the World Championships
and recording an outstanding
13-medal haul at the FINA
World Cup (one gold, five
silver and seven bronze
For these extraordinary
achievements in 2013, he
was named the T&T Olympic
Personality of the Year, the
Trinidad Express Individual of
the Year and among the Top
10 nominees at the 2014
First Citizens Sports
to swim for
T&T at the
in Rio, Brazil.
Continues on Page B2
Mark Hamill calls Star Wars return 'a gift'
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