Olympic champion promises to swim around Iceland if they win Euro 2016

• French 200m freestyle champion Yannick Agnel made pledge on Twitter
• Iceland coach: ‘that is possible, although he’ll have to pick the right weather’

The Olympic 200m freestyle champion Yannick Agnel has promised to swim all the way around Iceland should England’s conquerors at Euro 2016 go all the way in France this summer, although the Nordic country’s co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has warned him to “pick the right weather” if he does attempt it.

Iceland, who will face France in the quarter-finals in Paris on Sunday, are now 33-1 to win having started the competition at 100-1. Their 2-1 victory over England in Nice on Monday prompted Agnel – the 24-year-old who won three medals at London 2012 and will defend his title in Rio – to post a message on his Twitter account.

“If the Icelanders win the Euro, I will swim a tour of Iceland #ANGISL,” he wrote.

Si les islandais gagnent l'Euro, je fais le tour de l'Islande à la nage. #ANGISL

— Yannick Agnel (@YannickAgnel) June 27, 2016

The comment prompted a series of comical replies, including one user who promised they would be waiting at the end of the route with a “hot cup of chocolate”, while another posted a map of Iceland that showed the route is a total distance of 2,008km (1,247miles): “28 days at 3km/h, sorry if I’m a bit off”.

While almost certainly made tongue-in-cheek, Agnel’s promise caused much mirth at Iceland’s pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t recommend it, but that is possible, although he’ll have to pick the right weather,” said Hallgrimsson, a practising dentist who share his duties for the national team with the Swede Lars Lagerback.

He will certainly have to get a move on. Sea temperatures in Iceland are usually around 10-15 degrees Celsius at this time of year, although that drops to just above zero most of the year. “Consequently, swimming in the sea is not a common affair,” says one tour guide.

@YannickAgnel 28 jours à 3km/h, désolé si j'ai pris un peu large pic.twitter.com/RuOKUSMvl0

— ninotna_so (@epitomz) June 28, 2016

An estimated 10% of Iceland’s 330,000 population is currently in France to watch their side, with more expected to travel to the Stade de France for the game on Sunday night. Hallgrimsson was also asked to compare that invasion with the siege of Paris in 845, when the Norse chieftain Ragnar led 5,000 men into Paris after sailing up the River Seine.

“I have to be honest, I know nothing about the Viking invasion of Paris, it couldn’t have been many of them and maybe they were Swedish,” he said smiling and looking directly at Lagerback, who will leave his post after the tournament.


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