How does a pole vaulting champion draw attention to himself when his sponsorship deal expires? Personally, I would go the route of vaulting over a 20-foot long pit of alligators, piranhas and sharks, but I’m American: everything begins and ends with Evel Knievel. But Romain Mesnil went a different, decidedly more Continental route: streaking.
REUTERS says that the French vaulter and 2007 World Championship silver medalist took matters into his own hands after losing his sponsorship deal with Nike. He decided to go running naked through the streets of Paris - with nothing but his stiff pole high in the air - as a way to gain notoriety and … ahem … exposure for his plight. And of course, he made a video of it, which is after the jump. (Don’t worry, black boxes are in the important places.
It’s lucky for him that he’s a French pole vaulting champion and not from Russia or Sweden: if this was shot in the last few months, that’s just begging for a horrific case of frostbite. Not that you wouldn’t be risking your extremities in Paris: try explaining why your private areas have frozen off to your socialized medicine provider, Mr. Frenchy.
Is it working? He certainly is getting the publicity he wanted: beyond sites like us writing about him, his Lady Godiva impersonation also made the primetime news in France. Times are tough, and pole vaulters apparently need to go to any length to obtain sponsorships. Now, if we could only see a rash of sponsorship losses on the women’s side, like Cal hottie Allison Stokke: