Belfast Telegraph

Palin wants hopping at Olympics

Preparations for the London Olympics are almost complete but comic actor Michael Palin has called for a bizarre late addition to the list of events.

The 68-year-old Monty Python star joked that it was "a scandal" that hopping will not be featured at the Games.

He made the comments at a world record hopping attempt to mark the DVD release of Ripping Yarns The Complete Series, which he wrote alongside Terry Jones.

The publicity stunt was inspired by Graybridge School, which featured in the 1970s series, and forced pupils to complete a 30-mile hop as punishment. The school's motto was: "Only in true misery can you find true contentment."

Jones, 70, said: "It was in (the episode) Tomkinson's School Days. It was a terrible school where new boys had to fight a grizzly bear."

Palin, 68, added: "The hop was such a memorable thing in the series so we thought let's get people hopping. It's Olympic year (but) there's no Olympic hopping which I think is a scandal. We're trying to persuade the people it's not too late. Boris (Johnson) or Seb (Coe), get the hoppers out. This would have the crowd roaring."

The event, at Hampstead Heath Athletics Track in north London, saw around 100 people hop on the same leg for 400 metres.

The race was won by Ben Langley, 37, from Bedford, Bedfordshire, who described his victory as a "minor miracle".

He added: "It's fantastic to meet Michael Palin. He's been a voice in my head at different times in my life so to meet the guy face-to-face has been brilliant. He congratulated me and my leg."

Organisers said the record bid for the largest group 400 metre hop fell short of the target of 250 people. The attempt at the fastest relay hop over the same distance also failed to beat the time set by Guinness World Records.


From Belfast Telegraph