INTRODUCTION: Leaping into icy water is hardly an activity expected to encourage an international following.
GV Ponte Cavour over River Tiber, Italy, and pleasure boats
SV PULL BACK TO GV Rowers in racing shell on river
CU PULL BACK TO SV AND PAN FROM Retired fisherman. Cesare Bandini talking with spectators TO Crowds watching from bridge
SV Stuntman Aldo Corrieri watches from bridge as Mr. Bandini dives into river and swims towards bank
LV PAN DOWN Mr. Corrieri crosses himself and dives, watched by a third diver, PAN UP TO Third man dives into water, and swims towards flotilla of small boats
Cesare Bandini took the responsibility of maintaining the river jump tradition in 1976, replacing a Belgian who did the same thing on special occasions until a heart attack put him out of action.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Leaping into icy water is hardly an activity expected to encourage an international following. Yet, many people seem to do it, especially at Christmas and New Year during the northern winter, and in Australia, at least, on the shortest day of the year, in June. In Sydney Australia, swimmers who call themselves "icebergers" happily swim in a pool filled with giant blocks of ice. In London, revellers take a fully-clothed dip for New Year in the Serpentine or the fountains of Trafalgar Square. In Italy, the tradition centres on the River Tiber in Rome.
SYNOPSIS: This scene around the Ponte Cavour has become a familiar sight for Romans on New Year's Day. They flock here in small pleasure boats, and even rowing eights cheerfully interrupt a training session for the spectacle.
For some year, this man, retired fisherman Cesare Bandini, has been the centre of attention. Without fail, on the first of January, he has thrilled the crowds with a daredevil leap from the bridge wall into the historic river, emulating the feat of sixth century hero, Horatius Cocles.
Horatius started the fad, according to legend, when he threw himself into the Tiber and swam to the other side, after defending the Sublician Bridge against Etruscan invaders. In 1981, Cesare Bandini proved that even at the age of 67, the dive is not beyond him. Retire, he must eventually, and it appears his successor will be professional stuntman, Aldo Corrieri. Aldo believed that he may have been the centre of attention this year. But Cesare confounded all his doubters upstaging them with a better dive than either Aldo or a second pretender to his title as Tiger of the Tiber.