Outside Edge: Hidden talents come to surface


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Time for a breather... Diving instructor Allen Sherrod of Groveland, Florida has spent five days underwater – or 120 hours, 14 minutes, 11 seconds – in nearby Lake David to break the record for the longest scuba dive in open fresh water by 13min 2sec. He had a computer set up to watch films and listen to music – until it leaked and stopped working.

"The hardest part physically,was getting through the night hours, but mentally it was just the waiting and not talking to anybody," he said. "Let's just say I'm not a patient person."

Meanwhile rescue services in Cape Town were mobilised when a man failed to return from scuba diving off St James beach as night fell. But the National Sea Rescue Institute were recalled after the police called the diver's mother to tell her that he was missing, only for her to say he was locked up in prison having been arrested for diving in a protected marine reserve without a permit. He's in deep trouble.


The number of times Michael Carmichael has painted the same baseball. The 64-year-old decorator from Indiana began in 1977 as "a bit of fun" and gives it a fresh coat every day, sometimes 10 times a day. It now weighs 1,587kg and is a world record 179cm in circumference. He's daft as a brush.

Test of metal is hard to stomach

Scottish fans may be fuming about the rules governing what you can take into a Rugby World Cup match after the authorities outlawed bagpipes but the list of banned items is endless – for instance, you can't take car parts in.

The latter would be a body blow to Branko Crnogorac if he wanted a little snack while watching the game. The 80-year-old Serb has retired from "extreme eating" after he almost choked to death on a bicycle pedal. It all started when a friend suggested he eat sand to fight acid in his stomach. "It worked, and I thought why not try something else and one thing led to another."

Since then he has devoured some 25,000 lightbulbs, 12,000 forks, 2,000 spoons, 2,600 plates and nearly 6,000 vinyl records. But he met his match when someone bet that he couldn't eat his bike in three days. During surgery, doctors found 2kg of ironware and two gold rings inside him.

He must have a cast-iron constitution.

Good week

Carlos Tevez, the Manchester City striker, was let off a charge of failing to disclose the identity of the driver of his car for a speeding fine because his English was not good enough to understand the summons.

Spencer Larham, a lifelong fan of Wisbech Town FC in the Eastern Counties League, has moved into a security hut near the touchline inside the stadium, from where he can hear the team talks.

Claire Moffatt, 24, won the World Gurning Championships in Egremont, Cumbria after the 27-time winner Anne Woods did not enter.

Bad week

Pupils at Harewood Junior School in Tuffley, Gloucestershire have been banned from using hard footballs because they are dangerous – only sponge balls may be used.

A tap dance class for under-fives at the Irene Ogden School in Keighley, West Yorkshire has had to close because the children are causing the mirrors to shake in a hairdressing salon on the floor below.

Ivan Mendel, a 77-year-old from Tormak, Ukraine, died straight after winning a dumpling-eating contest – he managed 10 in 30 seconds.

It's time someone grabbed bull by horns

So it's adios to bullfighting in Catalonia, as the last matador struts his stuff in Barcelona's El Monumental ring today before the "sport" is banned from January. Good riddance to animal cruelty, you may think, but bull-dodging is growing enormously in popularity. This time it's the humans who get skewered while the bulls who are becoming as famous as matadors.

Take Raton, aka "The Mouse", who is commanding appearance fees of £15,000 since he killed a man in Xativa last month, his third fatality in total. And in Portugal, the first all-female troupe of bull-wrestlers or farcados, has been set up, in which a team of eight take on 300kg beasts which wear leather over their horns to protect the wrestlers.

In the United States, the world of dwarf wrestling has been split by a dispute between Chicago's Half-Pint Brawlers and Florida's Micro Championship, a breakaway league organised by Hulk Hogan, which the Brawlers claim is a "rip-off". Sounds painful.