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Boris Johnson's biggest sporting fails: The new UK PM's most embarrassing sporting escapades (VIDEO)

Boris Johnson's biggest sporting fails: The new UK PM's most embarrassing sporting escapades (VIDEO)
From wiping out a small child with a rugby tackle to drumming up support for the 2012 Olympics while stranded on a zip wire, the 'sporting career' of UK Prime Minister-designate Boris Johnson has been eventful to say the least.

Boris was selected as the new leader of the British Conservative Party on Tuesday, thus becoming the new prime minister of the UK. Despite his political detractors, Boris, 55, has managed to carve out a public persona as jovial and charismatic but error-prone and eccentric in his political ascent - largely down to comical public appearances, many connected with sport.


His buffoon-like behavior has often been ridiculed and is validated only by sharp wit and the ability to cajole crowds into laughing with him, rather than at him, serving him well in times of calamity. Often those times took place on the sporting field during uncomfortable attempts to promote sporting or charity events, cleverly using the platform to spin his image with comedy.

It could be fair to say the sporting mishaps of a portly, pasty-skinned politician have lightened skeptical views over his competency in Number 10 and gained favor with the British public. In honor of that, here is a look at BoJo’s top five sporting moments.

Getting stuck on the Olympic Games zip wire

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Boris Johnson gliding through the air on a zip wire.

Waving Union flags on either hand and donning a tightly-strapped safety helmet, Johnson looked more dorky than daredevil as he descended a zip wire in an attempt to promote the 2012 Olympic Games. 

“Can you get me a rope?” he helplessly called out to gathered crowds 20ft below in Victoria Park in East London as he lost momentum and became stuck on the apparatus. Onlookers by that point had began to take full advantage of the picture opportunity.

Nevertheless, the Olympics in London was a huge success and the incident endeared the host city's mayor further to the crowd.

Wiping out a Japanese child in a game of rugby

Perhaps the most well-known and funniest of Boris’ sporting mishaps came during an impromptu rugby match during a trip to Japan in 2015. Having stripped off his blazer and shoes, Boris joined in a game on a miniature pitch where young children were playing.

Having been passed the ball, Boris ran across the pitch with the grace of a dump truck, inexplicably and needlessly crashing into a 10-year-old child, sending the lad sprawling onto the floor.

To his credit, the shocked but undoubtedly plucky youngster dusted himself off and simply got on with playing the game.

His questionable football tackles

Johnson’s profile inadvertently skyrocketed when he was a surprise inclusion in the England versus Germany ‘Legends Match’ in 2006. 

Organized 40 years after England’s World Cup final triumph over West Germany at Wembley, the match raised money for the Bobby Moore Fund, the captain that day who died of cancer aged 51.

Johnson, then-MP for Henley, clumsily clattered into Maurizio Gaudina, chopping down the former Stuttgart and Germany midfielder at waist height and sending him tumbling into the air. 

Gaudina could only look on bewildered as Johnson casually jogged on brimming with all the traditional ‘Best of British’ sporting gusto of a man who hadn’t the faintest idea what he was doing.

Eight years later, and Johnson was at it again, tackling a nine-year-old boy in a park during a televised kickaround, completely missing the ball and tripping the young lad up, thankfully with a little less force than in the previous situation. 

Johnson seemed embarrassed, and stopped to see if the boy was ok, amid humorous shouts of "Ref! Ref!" from the sidelines, but the boy played on without a second thought.

Nevertheless, if BoJo tackles Brexit in the same vein as he tackles opponents on the football pitch, there could be trouble ahead for the UK.

Gurning in almost every tennis match

Boris is by all accounts a competent tennis player but there are a few unforced errors and faults in his game - namely his facial expressions while enjoying a rally. 

Unlike other sports at which Boris has tried his hand, it isn’t so much his technique that is the problem, but his on-court gurning and grimacing that causes the most concern. 

Another tennis fail came when Boris faced fierce criticism in 2018 for allegedly receiving a £160,000 ($200,000) donation to play in a tennis match against the wife of Russian ex-minister Vladimir Chernukhin, the chance for which she bid at a fundraising auction at a Tory event.

Not so long ago, Boris appeared across the court from former PM David Cameron in a wheelchair tennis doubles match alongside British Paralympics hopefuls to promote the 2012 event in the country.

Sinking a no-look basketball trick shot 

In the interest of fairness, we have to include a moment of sporting pride for BoJo. That almost certainly came when he managed to pull off an overhead basketball trick shot in front of Tower Bridge in London.

Then serving as London mayor and wearing a suit, Boris effortlessly sank a three-pointer without looking while promoting the Euroleague Final Four tournament on the South Bank in the UK capital. 

The performance led to his temporary nickname ‘Magic Johnson’ after the legendary LA Lakers point guard and five-time NBA champion.