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The greatest impostors in sporting history

The greatest impostors in sporting history

It was either a grave security breach or an Olympic victory for banter. At any rate, two pals are today collecting maximum "lad points" after blagging their way on to an open-top bus carrying Team GB winners through Manchester in yesterday's Rio "heroes parade". The gatecrashers, unnamed at the time of writing, wore genuine Team GB tracksuits and plastic medals. When an eagle-eyed reporter asked if they had won the "blagging Olympics", one of the men suggested they had been ushered on "against our will", adding sheepishly: "We're gonna get off at the next stop." Security may have been tighter during the second day of festivities at Trafalgar Square in London, but the lads from Manchester had already elevated themselves to the top flight of the inglorious league of sporting impostors. They are in good company. Karl Power He has stood on the podium at Silverstone, walked out at Headingley, played on Centre Court at Wimbledon and - most famously - posed for a Manchester United team photo before a Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. Unemployed labourer Karl Power is Britain's greatest sporting interloper, motivated by boredom and gumption. Norbert Sudhaus In 1972, the Olympic stadium in Munich erupted as a West German ran into the stadium to win the marathon. But while Norbert Sudhaus had the kit, he had no bib. The student impostor was swiftly intercepted before the real winner, Frank Shorter, who was confused by the booing echoing around the track, came in moments later to take gold for the US. Madhura Nagendra There are few greater honours for an athlete than to lead out a team in the Olympic opening ceremony, so there was anger in India when a stranger walked alongside the flagbearer in London four years ago. Madhura Nagendra, an Indian student who had performed as a dancer earlier in the ceremony, later apologised for her "error of judgment". Ali Dia When Graeme Souness took a call saying that the cousin of footballing legend George Weah was available, the Southampton manager signed him on a month's contract. But when Souness sent Ali Dia on for Matt Le Tissier against Leeds in 1996, his performance was "almost comical". Dia was taken off and sent packing. Barry Bremen In 1979, a strange man in full Kansas City Kings uniform joined the basketball team for a pre-game warm-up. This prank started the legend of Barry Bremen, an insurance salesman from Michigan, who also posed in golf tournaments and baseball and American football games and became known as the Great Impostor. He once wore drag and shaved his legs to pass for a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Maurice Flitcroft When Cumbrian crane driver Maurice Flitcroft scored 122 at the 1976 British Open - 49 over par - it was the worst performance in the history of the illustrious event. Adored by the public, but hated by the golfing establishment, he came back in 1983 as Gerald Hoppy, a Swiss pro, and shot 63 over nine holes before being rumbled. His final outing, as US pro James Beau Jolley, lasted just two holes in 1990.

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