World's Leaders Don't Stand So Tall
G-8 summit a gathering of the powerful who don't tower over others.
July 5, 2008— -- The giants of world politics are assembled in Toyako, Japan, for the G-8 summit this weekend, but while they may be big-time players, most of them wouldn't stand out in a crowd.
Just one, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, breaks the 6-foot barrier. Five of the world leaders aren't even 5'6" tall.
President Bush can count himself among the more imposing of the heads of government: He's 5'11", and a nice pair of cowboy boots would easily lift him over 6 feet.
If John McCain is elected in November, the Arizona Republican won't have to worry about talking down to most of his counterparts at these gatherings: At 5'9" he is only a little taller than average.
Barack Obama on the other hand might make some of the other G-8 leaders uncomfortable. The Illinois Democrat would tower over them at 6'1".
Among the leaders gathered this weekend, Russia's little big man, President Dmitry Medvedev, brings up the rear at only 5'2".
The G-8 host country Japan's Yasuo Fukuda is only 5'6", and Germany's female Chancellor Angela Merkel measures in at only 5'5".
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi's height is something of a controversy. According to most sources Belusconi is 5'5". However according to BBCNews.com, Berlusconi — often made fun of for his height and wearing platform shoes — once commented at a European summit, "Satirists describe me as a dwarf, but I am actually 170 centimeters (5'7") tall. In my day that was considered quite tall."
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France does all he can to disguise the four inches his former supermodel wife has over him. She wears flat shoes and he wears the heels, since he's only 5'5".
So why hide their true height? Are they scared of being called little Napoleons?
"Napoleon Complex is when short men overcompensate for being short by being overly aggressive," said Steven Goldsmith, editor of Short Persons Support. The French emperor has been portrayed in movies such as the eponymous offering of "Napoleon" from 2003 as a feisty little fellow, going down in history as only 5'2".