Outside Edge (19/09/10)

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Brit stars show hidden depths

It takes a lot to knock a nine-time world champion off his perch – even though a gentle push would suffice for a cliff-diver. So congratulations to Gary Hunt of Southampton, who plunged 27m into a river in Hawaii to win the Red Bull Cliff-Diving World Series. The 25-year-old won bronze at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games in the 10-metre synchronised diving, and he has now dislodged the legendary Colombian Orlando Duque at Kawainui Falls. Expect Duque to throw himself off a cliff in a deep depression. Hard hats off to Jason Mallinson, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, too, along with Dutchman Rene Houben, for creating a new cave-diving record of 8.8km in the Pozo Azul caves in Covenera, Spain. The journey into these previously unexplored caves took 50 hours, and they camped for two nights – and fell into a deep sleep.


If your dog weighs more than this, you must not take it for a walk in Russia while inebriated, according to new laws – it's called "drunk-walking". And in Tameside, Greater Manchester, you'll be fined £1,000 if your dog lead is longer than two metres long because you're less likely to pick up the poo.

Put your shirt on horse nonsense

A new edition of the Guinness Book of Records always brings a flock of fresh animal-related endurance records. For example, the longest distance covered by a horse on its hind legs: 95ft 5in, by Doc and its rider Gregory Ancelotti in Milan last year. Greg could probably talk the hind legs off a donkey when he goes on about it, too. But one which didn't make it in time for publication was set in Scarborough: the record for "the highest number of dogs dressed in costume attire in one place". In support of the 2018 World Cup bid, 218 hounds wore England football shirts, breaking the previous best of 208 held by the New York Mets baseball team. It should be pointed out that these dogs have nothing to do with footballers' floozies – who don't wear clothes, after all. Nor were any of them short, thick-set men who were mistaken for bull terriers.

Good week

Paige Wheeler, 12-year-old girl from Wellingborough, Northants, wins the European Drag-Racing Championship Under-17 section at the county's Santa Pod track after taking up the sport last year... Sergio Garcia, Europe's Ryder Cup vice-captain, fulfilled a lifelong ambition to represent his hometown football club of Borriol in Spain's Third Division when he came on for the last eight minutes against Ribarroja... and Carrie van Pelt, wife of US golfer Bo, was glad he didn't make the Ryder Cup team since she had lied about the size of her clothing.

Bad week

Heston Blumenthal, chef and owner of The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, is to be sued by sports presenter Jim Rosenthal after he was taken seriously ill during a £1,300 meal to celebrate his wife's birthday... Val Kemish, Oxford United fan, was hit on the head by a stray ball for the second time in two seasons while sitting in the same seat – and was presented with a hard hat by the club.... and ferry operators and fishermen in Weymouth have been banned from working during the 2012 Olympic sailing events held there, with no compensation.

A record that went down the plughole

In other animal-related news... It's not really sport but a new record set by David Jones of Sussex, spending the longest time in a locked room with venomous snakes (121 days) was rejected by Guinness because he wasn't sitting in a bath; it only accepts attempts for "most rattlesnakes, bathtub-sitting". Meanwhile, British Rally Championship contender Louise Cook set up an experiment in Eynsford, Kent to find out which was the fastest from a Ford Fiesta, a cheetah, a greyhound, a peregrine falcon and an eagle. The cheetah completed the 100-metre dash in just 7.8sec, pipping the Fiesta (8.4sec), while the falcon clocked 8.4sec. But the eagle lagged far behind in 18.3sec because it flew off in the wrong direction. The greyhound (11.4sec) was quite slow too but it was probably barking at the back wheels of the car. In case you're wondering why nature's aquatic speedsters were left out of the race, apparently the dolphins just couldn't see the porpoise of it all.