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"Paddy Games" taps up Bolt for backwards 100 metres

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - This year’s first-ever “Paddy Games” want Usain Bolt to run in the backwards 100 metres, the event’s madcap Irish organiser has told Reuters.

Jamaican triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt smiles during a news conference ahead of the IAAF Diamond League competition in Shanghai May 21, 2010. REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

Former elephant polo world champion Colin Carroll told Reuters the Games will take place in his home city of Cork, Ireland on Aug. 14 after plans to stage it in 2008 fell foul of red tape.

“Olympic officials got their knickers in a twist over us stealing Beijing’s thunder,” Carroll said in a telephone interview to exclusively announce the launch of the Paddy Games.

“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) got uptight and thought their athletes would defect to our Games. An angry letter from the IOC did put the willies up me.

“But they can’t shut us down,” added the 37-year-old, who repackaged his wacky brainchild by dropping the word “Olympics” to avoid further dust-ups with the IOC.

The Paddy Games will consist of 25 sports, including backwards and blind-folded sprints, mobile phone throwing, even an “inter-species” relay race -- which the rule book states “shall comprise two humans and two land animals.”

Carroll, who shot to fame in 2005 with a surprise gold for Ireland at the world elephant polo championships, said: “We will also have a donkey vault and strait-jacket wrestling.”

The world’s fastest man Bolt, who stormed to the gold in Beijing and holds the world record of 9.58 seconds going in the right direction, is being lined up for the backwards sprints.

“I’ve been in touch with the big Jamaican,” said Carroll. “The question is can he break the world record in the retro 100 metres? I’ve had no firm response from him at this stage.”


The Irish braveheart risked life and limb in 2006 to become his country’s first wrestler at the world sumo championships but had to sign a death waiver first due to his pint-sized frame.

Carroll, who once broke his back and has steel screws supporting his spine, has also declared that London will be the hosts of the 2012 Paddy Games -- whether they like it or not.

“London is not only preparing for the 2012 Olympics but the 2012 Paddy Games will also be on London’s doorstep,” he said. “I can almost certainly confirm that.

“I would like to ask (London Mayor) Boris Johnson if he’ll throw open the doors of Twickenham or the 02 Arena for the Paddy Games,” he added, his optimism undimmed by wafer-thin odds.

“If there’s a clash between the timing of the London Games and ours I want Boris Johnson to get off the fence and make his mind up which he’s going to get behind!”

The avid camel racer, who has popped up in previous incarnations in a boy band in Poland and the Irish bobsleigh team in Latvia, backed the Paddy Games to eventually replace the Olympics altogether.

“The Paris mayor was keen on staging it,” claimed Carroll. “He likened me to Pierre De Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics!”

He then cheerily declared the Olympic movement a fossil -- with no apparent hint of irony.

“The IOC have lost their way,” insisted Carroll. “True Olympic ideals are embodied by the Paddy Games. Backwards is the new forwards.”

Editing by Paul Casciato