A French pole vaulting champion has run naked with his pole through the streets of Paris and posted the video on the Internet, in an attempt to secure a new sponsorship deal.
Romain Mesnil, 31, who won a silver medal at the 2007 Athletics World Championships in Osaka, used to be sponsored by U.S. sports brand Nike but says his contract expired last year and was not renewed.
Mesnil said he was offering sponsorship deals for companies and individuals on the internet auction site ebay.
He told a news conference: “In my mind, it was an opportunity to do something funny. I am not ready to do anything to get a sponsor. We’re doing this and we will see what happens.”
Many athletes have reported difficulties in securing corporate sponsorship as companies cut costs because of the global economic downturn.
“It was probably for budgetary and strategic reasons. It’s the crisis,” Mensil said on his website.
In his video, Mesnil runs with his pole as if preparing for a vault at tourist spots like Montmartre and the Pont des Arts across the River Seine, with his modesty spared only by the addition of a black square.
The video has succeeded in drawing attention to Mesnil’s plight, as it has now been broadcast on primetime state television news bulletins in both England and France.
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