A British man who won a silver medal in the 1980 Olympics is rowing down the Mississippi River to raise money for a charity.
John Pritchard earned the medal at the 1980 Olympics and also competed again at the international competition four years later, the Telegraph Herald reported. Pritchard also has participated in the three University Boat Races on the River Thames for Cambridge University.
Pritchard is trying to raise $1 million for Right To Play UK, which uses sports and games to help teach children communication and teamwork skills in war-torn countries. He is the organization's chairman and has raised about $250,000 so far for it.
"These are the places you really don't want to be — Sudan, Eritrea, West Africa, East Africa, refugee camps," he said. "There are ex-child soldiers whose aspirations are dying. Then, with some education and play, it raises their aspiration to something else."
Pritchard and his rowing partner, Australian Paddy Broughton, reached Dubuque on Tuesday in a two-person wooden boat and left for Bellevue on Wednesday. Pritchard has rowed about 35 miles a day since he began on Aug. 2 from Lake Itasca, Minnesota.
He and various rowing partners expect to reach New Orleans in October.
"Originally, it was a mad idea to row on my own, but now I've got 50 people joining me — from the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and the U.S.," he said. "We've got some people who are Olympians; we have some people who have never rowed in their lives."
He said he was inspired to row on the river after a visit to Dubuque's National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. His wife's family is from Iowa City.