July 26 Photo Brief: Chincoteague pony swim, Bhopal victims stage own Olympics, deadly rains in Beijing

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Chincoteague pony swim, victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster stage “Special Olympics” to protest London 2012 sponsor, death toll and damage in aftermath of Beijing flood, and more in today’s daily brief.

Chincoteague pony swim a dream come true
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun
8:38 p.m. EDT, July 25, 2012

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va.— — As the herd of wild ponies emerged on the horizon Wednesday morning, Robin Dodge looked across the water to see her childhood fantasy come true.

More than 145 horses were poised at the Assateague Channel for the annual 75-yard swim, a tradition that has outlived most people on this tiny Virginia island.

“This has been my lifelong dream since I was 8 years old,” said Dodge, 55, who drove from upstate New York with her husband. Moments later, a voice crackled over the loudspeaker, assuring a crowd that would eventually swell to 40,000 that this was not a dream: “If you can hear me talking, you’re here now.”

Unlike petting Black Beauty, watching the Pony Swim of Chincoteague is a fantasy that can be lived in adulthood.

For 87 years, the herd owned by the island’s volunteer fire company has plunged into the shallow water separating the wildlife refuge of Assateague Island from Chincoteague, where the youngest ponies are auctioned at a carnival. Dodge and thousands of others arrived early — some, days in advance — to watch a picturesque swim of more than six minutes, the longest in recent memory. By Friday, 67 ponies will be sold at auction and about 100 will return to the wild, swimming back across the channel.

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