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Viggo Mortensen watch hits fever pitch in Idaho

[from The Bonner County Daily Bee]

The "Viggo" watch has hit a fever pitch for Long Bridge Swim organizer and lead push, Eric Ridgway.

The 10th Long Bridge Swim is slated for Aug. 21 and Ridgway is anticipating up to 500 swimmers this year. There were 350 last year -- including 60 swimmers who registered the morning of the race amid a thunderstorm.

Rumors that actor Viggo Mortensen might join the Sandpoint-area's premier athletic event started swirling about two months ago. I reported on the possibility of his Viggo-ness' appearance in a column about the same time.


Viggo Mortensen

Mortensen is best known for his role in the Lord of the Rings movies and the recent hit, Hidalgo.

As soon as the column came out a reporter from the National Enquirer called me and asked if I could confirm the actor was swimming. I could not. Since we put my columns on the Daily Bee Web site, any name mentioned can show up on search engines such as Google.

The actor, who has a ranch near Naples, has legions of fans and several fan club sites. The rumor that he is swimming in this year's race has been treated as fact on a few of these Web sites.

Ridgway has been getting many phone calls and e-mails from fans who would make the trek from about anywhere to see Mortensen in a Speedo.

"I've been taking this whole thing as humorous, cute and funny but if there are people coming here from California on the off chance he is swimming here, that's pretty pathetic," Ridgway said.

Ridgway has dug into the rumor and talked with a friend of a relative of the movie star.

Reports have come back that Mortensen is shy, wouldn't be caught dead in Speedos and is a chain smoker, Ridgway said. Still, if Mortensen were to swim in the race he wouldn't register under his real name or he would register the morning of the race.


Published July 22, 2004

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