Boris Johnson in high wire act

 

London mayor Boris Johnson was left red-faced today after he got stuck on a 45-metre high, 320-metre long zip wire at an event in Victoria Park, where the Olympic games are being shown on big screens.

In his trademark black suit and shoes, helmeted and holding two Union Jack flags in the drizzle, Mr Johnson valiantly tried out the zip wire at the London Live event in Victoria Park.

Wearing a hard hat and waving two Union flags, things seemed to go swimmingly at first.

But as he reached the end of the line it rebounded before running out of momentum about 33ft above the ground.

The mayor was left dangling inelegantly from his harness for about five minutes above a crowd of onlookers who happily snapped photographs on their mobile phone.

One shouted: “I heard Ken Livingstone set up the zipline.”

Mr Johnson responded: “This is great fun but it needs to go faster.”

He shouted to helpers: “Get me a rope or a ladder.”

Always keen to take an opportunity to promote the Olympics, he spent his time cheering on Team GB athletes and encouraging tourists to visit London.

Eventually event staff pulled him to safety.

Mr Johnson then took on a local child at table tennis - which he once famously insisted was originally called “wiff waff”.

Yesterday, he was spotted at the beach volleyball in Horse Guards Parade where he led crowds in a Mexican wave.

A spokeswoman for Mr Johnson said the mayor remained unbowed. "Clearly the judges are likely to mark him down for artistic interpretation and, unlike Team GB, he won't be bagging any gold medals today."

"We are glad the mayor is safe and can only apologise for keeping him hanging on the line," a BT spokesman said on behalf of the telecoms company who sponsored the event.

The mayor's misfortune has caused something of an online sensation, with Twitter revelling in the #dangleboris hashtag. See the best Boris pics atBoris: a meme is born

Before his humiliating escapade, Mr Johnson played down suggestions that his warnings over transport chaos had prompted an Olympics-related mini recession in the capital.

He was speaking after Transport for London (TfL) scrapped a recorded message of the mayor warning passengers of “huge pressure on the transport network” amid claims the city has become a ghost town.

Some attractions said visitor numbers are down by between 20 per cent and 40 per cent.

However, the mayor insisted businesses which had engaged with the Games were prospering.

Asked what his message to struggling businesses would be, he added: “The message is, London is the place to be and I hope as many people as possible get involved with everything that’s on offer from attractions at Stratford to those in central London.”

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