Outside Edge: For Romero, the only way is down


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The Independent Online

One day I really must go abroad at Christmas and get away from it all.

Some people will go to almost any lengths to avoid the traditional family fun and frolics. Take Jordan Romero, who rang his mum Anne on Christmas Eve to tell her that he was standing on top of Mount Vinson, some 750 miles from the South Pole. He had completed the full set of summits, an ambition he had apparently held since he was nine years old. And he's only 15 now, becoming the youngest person to achieve the feat.

That sounds like a steep learning curve for a mere slip of a lad.

Quite, and with hardly a slip – except for when he ascended Everest. He became the youngest to scale the world's highest peak at 13. But on the way up he, father Paul and stepmum Karen were caught up in an avalanche that killed another climber and pulled them towards a crevasse. "We jokingly told Jordan he couldn't tell his mum about it until he was 18," said Karen.

Hilarious. They sound like they could push him right over the edge.

Romero Snr could well be the ultimate "competitive dad". The air ambulance paramedic used to make his son sleep in hypoxic tents to acclimatise him to the thin air at high altitude. On the way to Everest Base Camp, he relates: "I'd say, I don't even want to smell a bad attitude today. If that didn't work, it would be: 'OK, drop and give me 40 push-ups.' It's amazing what doing 40 push-ups does for your attitude."

Blimey, the old guy's completely lost his grip on reality, hasn't he?

He has come in for criticism in what has become a shockingly competitive field – along with the discipline of solo round-the-world sailing – but Paul hits back with lines like "We've redefined family quality time" and says at least Jordan will never get fat. Of course at this rate he may never get the chance.

These kids are reaching their peak too early. Where do they go from here?

They need to keep their feet on the ground. There's nothing they can do now, their records are just there to be broken. My money is on Sail Chapman, who two years ago finished climbing all 214 of "Wainwright's Peaks" in the Lake District aged five, having begun at the age of two. He's the next rising star.

Going round... the keeper

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo seemed to have eaten all the pies over Christmas as he played in a charity match in Sao Paulo. The 35-year-old retired in February last year, stating: "Mentally I wanted to continue but I have to acknowledge that I lost to my body." A massive waist of talent. Meanwhile another green-and-gold legend, Adriano, was accused of shooting a woman in the hand in his car in Rio last week – until Adriene Pinto admitted she did it herself. Witnesses say the 20-year-old fired the gun to attract publicity. At least she got her fingers to the shot.

Thin Edges: How not to curry favour with the ladies

As you attempt to work out exactly what happened at that party last night and try to turn over a new leaf, let's hope you didn't take a leaf out of the St Anne's and St John's rugby union team manual. The Oxford University students' Crew Date Flair Guide offers tips on how to "score" with women in a local curry house, complete with tactical diagrams. A chapter called "The Set-up" suggests: "The central 'Kill-Zone' should consist of their major social players and easiest women. Not to be neglected is the outer female on the right-hand side – should she be attractive and single, she can be cornered and chatted up, using the perfect 'opposite and next to' wingman technique. The Saints are always ready to have a try. They just don't realise when they've crossed the line.

Red card Belgrade

Serbian folk singer Svetlana Raznatovic, also known as Ceca, has been in court again to face charges that she and another person assaulted the manager of her own football team, Obilic Belgrade FC. The club used to belong to her former husband, the warlord Arkan, who died in 2000, and Ceca has been under house arrest since last May after reaching an out-of-court settlement over the illegal sale of 10 of her players, for which she was fined €1.5m (£1.3m). They were going for a song.

Out for the count

In Mexico, the Institutional Revolutionary Party have had their mayoral election victory in the Michoacan province, the home state of President Felipe Calderon, annulled after it was revealed that the boxer Juan Manuel Marquez wore their logo on his shorts during his world welterweight title fight against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in November. The bout was on the eve of the election, thereby violating a ruling against late publicity. So much for ballot boxing.

... and you're never too old

Three old-timers are still stopping the clock in their never-ending search for sporting excellence:

Colin Lee 72, has been honoured with a Barclays Community Sports Award for his services to football in Northampton. He is the secretary of eight teams but is also believed to be the UK's oldest goalkeeper, playing every week for the last 66 years.

Arthur Gilbert 90, of Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset has been recognised as the world's oldest triathlete after completing 40 races since he first took up the multi-discipline challenge at the age of 68.

Dharmpal Gudha A farmer from Uttar Pradesh in India, claims he runs 10 marathons a year, even though he is 114 years old. And he won't stop: "I believe running keeps me alive."