Outside Edge: Cheers for the great pretender

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The Independent Online

For all you sporting wannabes out there who never quite made the grade, let us pay tribute to Barry Bremen, aka "the great imposter", who has died at the age of 64.

The insurance salesman from Michigan made an alternative career posing as a sports star. Before the US Open golf in 1985 he played a practice round with Fred Couples and Curtis Strange, and he also pretended to be a player in the All Star games for MLB baseball and NBA basketball as well as an umpire in the World Series.

Perhaps his greatest achievement was to pass himself off as a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. He lost 23lbs, practised drag routines with his wife, shaved his legs and had a costume custom-made. He ran on to the field in hot pants, false boobs and a blond wig, and managed one routine before he was hogtied and marched off.

He said the use of tasers brought an end to his gate-crashing. It's hard to say who was more shocked.


The number of hours Ben Walton, a dry cleaner from Andover, Hampshire, hopes to iron clothes to break his own extreme-ironing world record of 60 hours set in 2008, when he got through 923 items of clothing. "Ironman" has asked the public to bring along their washing. He will be going flat out.

Football strip: can they pull it off?

The Women's World Cup is helping to showcase what is apparently the world's fastest-growing sport but one female Russian club have become so dispirited by small attendances for their matches, they have decided to play in bikinis.

FC Rossiyanka from Krasnoarmeysk, near Moscow, won the Premier League three times in the last six years and have qualified for the Champions' League but their crowds have dwindled during the recession. Coach Tatyana Egorova says: "Our players are beautiful, great athletes and determined to win."

With that kind of attitude, Edge will be following them closely. At the tournament in Germany, Sweden's pin-up girl Josefine Oqvist has caused a stir by swapping shirts in time-honoured fashion after the game against North Korea – but with a male fan in the crowd wearing the Germany strip. How could she? Germany?

Good week

Kai Fifield, a seven-year-old boy from Northampton who was visiting Barcelona's stadium with his father, joined in a junior five-a-side game and was asked to come back for a trial.

Arul Suppiah, the Somerset slow left-armer, returned the best ever figures in Twenty20 cricket, 6 for 5 against Glamorgan in Cardiff, eclipsing Sohail Tanvir's 6 for 14 in 2008.

Billie Jean King, the tennis legend, 67, returned to the court for the first time since having a double knee replacement operation in 2009.

Bad week

Thomas Levet, the French golfer, will miss The Open after breaking his leg diving into a lake while celebrating his victory in last weekend's French Open.

Sumo wrestlers in Japan, who have been banned from playing golf and told to obey traffic laws so they are "feeling their nerves" when they return to action following a match-fixing scandal.

Joey Chestnut, who won Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest in New York by eating 68 in 10 minutes, only for his nemesis Takeru Kobayashi to scoff 69 in a breakaway contest.

The bog standard is raised to new level

The silly season is well and truly upon us, including an alternative to the Tour de France: the World Mountain Bike Bog-Snorkelling Championships being held today in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, in which competitors cycle 60ft along a six-foot deep peat trench weighed down with lead.

As if that was not gruelling enough, a Bog Triathlon has now been organised with a 12-mile run and a 25-mile bike ride around the bog action.

Then there's the World Pea-Shooting Championships in Witcham, Cambridgeshire, in which competitors must fire from a 12-inch shooter at a target 12 yards away. Mechanisms involve laser sights and gyroscopic balances, while tactics include muzzle velocity, "wind expenditure" – how hard you blow – and "moisture content" – the optimum amount of saliva to coat your pea with.

Edge was shocked to hear garden peas are not aerodynamic because they are crinkly; veterans prefer dried maple seeds. They've got it all sown up.