Roberto Madrazo, you made my day

Stop bad-mouthing our politicians; this guy is the real thing:

MEXICO CITY -- After apparently covering 15 kilometres of a marathon course in a time faster that any human being could possibly run it, not to mention crossing the finish line wearing a windbreaker, hat and skintight running pants in 16-degree weather, Mexican politician Roberto Madrazo was disqualified Monday as winner of his age category in the Sept. 30 Berlin marathon. [...]

Race officials said Monday they disqualified him for apparently taking a shortcut - an electronic tracking chip indicates he skipped two checkpoints in the race and would have needed superhuman speed to achieve his win.

According to the chip, Mr. Madrazo took only 21 minutes to cover 15 kilometres between the 20-kilometre and 35-kilometre marks - faster than any human can run. The world record for 15 kilometres is 41 minutes, 29 seconds, by Felix Limo of Kenya.

As a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which often resorted to fraud to win elections, Mr. Madrazo's reputation at home was already tarnished.

In 1996, Mexico's attorney-general confirmed reports that he had spent tens of millions of dollars more than the legal campaign spending limit in his winning 1994 bid for the Tabasco state governorship.

While under investigation on those charges, Mr. Madrazo told police he had been kidnapped for seven hours, beaten and threatened with death by unidentified assailants. Police couldn't find evidence of any such abduction, and many saw it as a sympathy ploy.

From The Globe and Mail. BBC News has more:

The 55-year-old blamed political opponents for the furore surrounding the incident, which has seen him lampooned in his home country.

Race officials looked into the case after a photographer noticed Mr Madrazo finishing the race wearing a jacket and long running tights but hardly sweating. They stripped him of his first-place title.

But Mr Madrazo has insisted he did not cheat.

"I had to stop after 21km and I went directly to the finish line for my clothes and my medal for taking part," Mr Madrazo said. "In sport there are no short-cuts, there are personal challenges."

He also said political opponents were trying to tarnish his image and hinder his plans to set up a marathon-running foundation.

"It is political. By doing this, they are seeking to throw mud on a sporting activity that I have practiced for many years and on my new social project," Mr Madrazo said. [...]

Mr Madrazo was a presidential candidate last year for the Institutional Revolutionary Party - the party whose 71 continuous years in power ended in 2000. He finished a distant third in the vote.

by datacharmer | Friday, October 12, 2007
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