Johnson was 'Yuri Gagarin of the zip-wire'

Johnson was 'Yuri Gagarin of the zip-wire'

London Mayor Boris Johnson was left hanging today as he got stuck in mid-air on a zipwire at an Olympic event.

Mr Johnson tried out the 148ft (45m) high, 1,050ft (320m) long line as he visited Victoria Park in the capital.

Wearing a hard hat and waving two Union flags, things seemed to go swimmingly at first.

But as he reached the end of the line it rebounded before running out of momentum about 33ft (10m) above the ground.

The mayor was left dangling inelegantly from his harness for about five minutes above a crowd of onlookers who happily snapped photographs on their mobile phone.

One shouted: “I heard Ken Livingstone set up the zipline.”

Mr Johnson responded: “This is great fun but it needs to go faster.”

Talking to talk radio station LBC 97.3, later in the day, Mr Johnson said: ``You may remember a long time ago, I fell in a river in order to promote volunteering.

“It was in exactly the same spirit that I brilliantly decided to come to a juddering halt in the middle of the zip-wire in order to promote our wonderful live site at Victoria Park.

“Get on down to Victoria Park, folks. Free entertainment, hog roast, you name it. It turned out I was the Yuri Gagarin of the zip-wire. I was testing it.”

Always keen to take an opportunity to promote the Olympics, he spent his time in Victoria Park cheering on Team GB athletes and encouraging tourists to visit London.

He shouted to helpers: “Get me a rope or a ladder.”

Eventually event staff pulled him to safety.

Mr Johnson then took on a local youngster at table tennis – which he once famously insisted was originally called “wiff waff”.

Mr Johnson also defended his decision to invite News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng to join him at Friday’s swimming finals.

He said: “I’ve invited loads of people and over the course of the last few days, we’ve had all sorts of big investors in London.

“There’s a sort of demonisation of Rupert Murdoch who, as far as I understand it, is not a proscribed character, he’s not a convicted criminal.

“He’s not even under any criminal investigation.

“He has done more to sponsor sport in London and indeed in the country than almost anybody else I can think of.

“We’ve just won the Tour de France thanks to Team Sky and it’s very important that he keeps that sponsorship up and he continues to support it.”

Yesterday he was spotted at the beach volleyball in Horse Guards Parade where he led crowds in a Mexican wave.

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