If ziplining ever debuts as an Olympic sport, don’t expect to see London Mayor Boris Johnson on the medal stand.
The eccentric mayor, who has seemingly been everywhere to promote the Olympics now underway in his city, found himself stuck dangling in the air this afternoon after taking the inaugural ride down a zipline set up in Victoria Park to promote the Games.
Johnson, 48, a member of the country’s Conservative party, gamely strapped on a harness and a hard hat and attempted to sail down the 1,050-foot line while also holding two Union Jack flags. Instead of achieving a gold medal-worthy landing, Johnson ground to a halt about 65 feet from the end of the line and was stuck dangling above a crowd full of bemused and bewildered spectators below.
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“Get me a rope, get me a ladder,” Johnson is heard saying in video captured by British news agency ITV. “I think the brakes got stuck.”
Eyewitnesses told U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that Johnson was stranded for nearly five minutes before park officials successfully pulled him down to the end of the line with a rope.
Not one to miss an opportunity to promote his countrymen, Johnson reportedly used the time in air to wave his Union Jack flags and lead the crowd in cheering on the British gold medal-winning rowers.
Although surely uncomfortable, he also made light of the situation and cracked jokes even while mid-air. “It’s very, very well organized. … It’s going well so far. Right,” The Telegraph quoted Johnson as saying.
“This is great fun but it needs to go faster,” he joked.
The zip remained open after Johnson’s incident and worked for other users, leading organizers to believe the mayor’s particular complication was caused by a “loss of momentum” as the wire sagged, according to The Telegraph.
The gaffe quickly made headlines in England and parked a social media craze of its own on Twitter and other sites. A blog titled DangleBoris was created with digitally altered images of the mayor hanging from spots like an Olympic volleyball net, the helicopter featured in the Games’ opening ceremony and a high-jump bar, among others.
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