An Olympic swimmer rescued a drowning man who had fallen off an inflatable unicorn while on holiday in Sardinia

AP Photo / Matt DunhamFilippo Magnini.
  • Italian Olympic medallist Filippo Magnini came to the aid of a drowning man in Sardinia on Sunday.
  • Magnini spotted 45-year-old Andrea Benedetto in distress off the shore of Cala Sinzias beach and beat the lifeguards to reach the man.
  • Benedetto was apparently unable to move his limbs due to a medical condition.
  • Magnini helped Benedetto onto a nearby float until lifeguards arrived to take him back to shore.
  • Magnini later told Italian press: “I just did what I had to.”
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If you get into trouble out at sea, there are few people you’d rather have come to your aid than an Olympic swimmer.

Fortunately for one man in Sardinia, that’s exactly what happened on Sunday.

Italian Olympic medalist Filippo Magnini was on holiday with his Italian TV personality girlfriend Giorgia Palmas on the Italian island when he saw a man in distress off the shore of Cala Sinzias beach.

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According to the BBC, who had a correspondent fortuitously at the scene, 45-year-old Andrea Benedetto was paddling around on an inflatable unicorn with his newlywed husband when he fell into the water and was unable to move his limbs due to a medical condition.

While lifeguards rushed towards the distressed couple, they were beaten to the post by 37-year-old Magnini who helped Benedetto onto a raft.

Filippo Magnini poses on the red carpet on the occasion of the screening of the movie Borg McEnroe , at the Rome Film fest, in Rome, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)AP Photo / Andrew MedichiniFilippo Magnini at the Rome Film Festival in 2017.

“I just did what I had to,” the retired athlete later told Italian paper Corriere dello Sport.

“The bather was in a lot of trouble: he was quite frightened, he was really stuck and had swallowed some seawater,” Magnini said.

“When I reached him he wasn’t even able to speak, and it wasn’t easy to lift him on to the raft, so we laid him on an airbed that some other bathers had nearby.”

Benedetto was then taken to a nearby hospital.

“A few hours after the accident I was at the hospital when I realised that Filippo Magnini was the man who saved my life but I didn’t have any chance to thank him as I have no contact with him,” Benedetto said. “I hope to be able to thank him in person.”

Magnini won bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics as part of Italy’s 4x200m freestyle relay team.

He is also a two-time 100 metre freestyle World champion and three time European champion.

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