March 31, 2004
Reebok is creating a sculpture of Swedish heptathlete Carolina Kluft posed to match one of the figures on the Parthenon Frieze. This sculpture will be used as part of Reebok’s advertising campaign during the Olympics in Athens this summer.
31 March 2004 13:53
Athletics: Kluft cast in a classical pose on road to Athens
By Mike Rowbottom
Something unusual happened at yesterday’s publicity appearance in London by the world heptathlon champion, Carolina Kluft. The flaxen-haired darling of the Swedish nation and wider sporting world produced a false smile.
In the circumstances, it was forgivable – the circumstances being that she was standing spotlit on a stage surrounded by television cameramen, photographers and reporters all striving to appear neutral about the fact that another woman was daubing her body with purple-coloured liquid rubber.
So, yes, when she was asked for the nth time as she stood in her fixed, javelin-throwing pose to “look this way Carolina please”, just as Maureen and her willing assistant Don, whose task it was to squirt Kluft with the purple stuff out of a giant plastic syringe, were setting about her torso, the habitually charming Swede produced the kind of strained grin you normally see in the closing stages of the National Lottery Draw Jet Set quiz, when the contestant involved has to answer the next question correctly or forfeit the chance of a dream holiday in Hawaii.
The object of this exercise was to take a cast of the sleekly muscled frame that has earned Kluft European and world titles in the course of the last two years in order to create a sculpture of her in the manner of the figures that once adorned the Acropolis in Athens before they found their way into Lord Elgin’s private collection and thence, controversially, to the British Museum.
Maureen had begun the proceedings with a swift technical explanation. “We are going to be smearing Carolina with some of our nasty-looking goo,” she announced. It was only moments before the event’s master of ceremonies employed the word “kinky”.
Purely by the way, this eye-catching stunt also served to promote Kluft’s sponsors, Reebok, in the run-up to this summer’s Olympics, where Kluft is an all-singing, all-dancing favourite to earn a gold.
If that is a pressure, it is one she is resolutely resisting. “No,” she says, her eyes flashing palely blue, “I will not feel extra pressure. I will refuse to feel extra pressure. Athletics is something I enjoy, and I will never change that focus just because of a medal or you all here.”
The suggestion that she could add another 290 points to the total of 7,001 she amassed in Paris last summer to become the world record-holder was dismissed in similarly emphatic fashion.
“I don’t think about the world record or winning a medal or anything like that when I’m competing,” she said. “That’s not why I do this. I do this because I enjoy it, and I will do this until I don’t like it any more – or it doesn’t like me any more.”
There is little doubt that the first option will arrive long before the second, such has been the impact on the sport of this exuberant young woman from Boras, the home town of Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.
Earlier this month, after producing a long jump which eventually earned her a bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Kluft was carried from the arena on a stretcher after injuring herself. But it was hardly the standard stricken departure as she waved and smiled to the crowd all the way into the tunnel.
“I just wanted everyone to know I was OK,” she said yesterday. “It was not that bad an injury – just a very small, tiny tear of the hamstring. If I could I would have walked out by myself, but they wouldn’t let me.”
She managed an almost immediate return to training, and now professes herself “100 per cent” as she prepares for an Olympics at which, if all goes according to plan, she will seek medals in both the heptathlon and long jump. That is, she will enjoy herself in both the heptathlon and long jump. And the world will enjoy watching her.
- Reebok creates modern interpretation of Parthenon frieze : June 29, 2004
- British Olympic medal winners want the Elgin Marbles returned : November 11, 2003
- Museum purchases medal, but agrees to leave it in its home country : November 14, 2006
- Dorothy King speaks about against the return of the Marbles : June 20, 2004
- Athens Olympics may hasten resolution of Elgin Marbles return : January 14, 2004
- Art restoration experience on Parthenon frieze casts : August 20, 2006
- British select committee oficials have visited Athens : June 27, 2007
- Is Greece putting presure on Louvre over Parthenon Marbles? : March 23, 2007