Watch out Beijing, it's the Paddy Olympics

TOKYO (Reuters) - Forget Beijing. Madcap Irishman Colin Carroll, part-time sumo “flyweight” and a world champion in elephant polo, has unveiled plans to launch the “Paddy Olympics.”

Colin Carroll (R) of Ireland helps his coach Graham Little wear a mawashi, or sumo nappy, before a training session for the sumo world championships in Sakai, western Japan in this October 14, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/Files

While his latest brainwave has perhaps come a little too late to steal the thunder from this year’s Beijing Olympics, the 35-year-old reckons he has struck gold with his idea.

“We would have the old favorites like bathtub races, backwards running and the egg-and-spoon 100 meters,” Carroll told Reuters in a telephone interview from his home in the Irish city of Cork.

“We may look into the possibility of using the whip in the bathtub races. Instead of discus throwing there would be mobile phone throwing.

“For the relays we could have mixed teams -- two humans and two dogs. Animals are good.”

He added: “We may even be in time to host the first Paddy Olympics prior to Beijing. Dope testing would imply an entirely different thing of course.”

Carroll shot to fame in 2005, taking time off from his day job as a lawyer to win a surprise gold for Ireland at the world elephant polo championships in the Nepali jungle.

He risked life and limb a year later to become Ireland’s first grappler at the world sumo championships but had to sign a death waiver first because of his pint-sized frame.

“I do take being silly very seriously,” said Carroll, now training for an assault on the three-legged marathon world record.

“I promise you I have given my Paddy Olympics serious thought. Qualification for the Games would be a dedication to silliness.”


Carroll, who has popped up in previous incarnations in a boy band in Poland and the Irish bobsleigh team in Latvia, once broke his back and still has steel screws supporting his spine.

His family think he is raving mad but Carroll, who has published a book on his death-defying capers, continues to tweak the nose of fear.

As if his plans for a rival Olympics were not huge enough, Carroll raised more eyebrows when he declared his intention to represent Ireland in synchronized swimming.

“At last year’s world swimming championships I offered my services as Ireland’s only diver,” said Carroll, who has his sumo name “Green Fly” tattooed on his arm in Chinese characters.

“I was going to pinch my nose and bomb off. They said no.”

That knock-back from Swim Ireland spurred him to take on a different aquatic challenge as a synchronized swimmer.

“I’ve been practicing with a peg on my nose,” he said. “Ireland may well return from the Beijing Olympics without a medal. Where will we be then?”

Such is Carroll’s determination to make a splash in synchronized swimming, that he is threatening legal action to overturn rules preventing men from competing at the Olympics.

“It’s sexual discrimination,” he said. “I’m not a monster, ladies. I just want to swim with you. I’m willing to take it all the way to CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport) in Switzerland.”


Carroll’s eagerness to become world champion of just about anything could see him win gold at the Welsh sheepdog trials and the rickshaw world championships in India this year.

The world jousting championships and world retro running championships, where athletes -- some with rear-view mirrors on their foreheads -- run backwards up a Swiss mountain, are also on his radar.

Carroll makes no apologies for his obsession with the obscure and at times plain daft.

“I’m constantly being asked to grow up but during my lunch break at work I find myself wanting to climb trees, skim stones and play hide-and-seek,” he laughed.

“Apparently that’s not on for a lawyer in a suit. I see kids splashing in a puddle and I want to join in. I guess I just never killed off the childish gene in me.”

Editing by Clare Fallon