A Dalston man is to sue Team GB Olympic gymnastics hero Max Whitlock for allegedly ‘stealing his routine’ following his double gold medal haul in Rio yesterday.
‘Yeah,’ said Mr Keith Salto, ‘fair play to Max for his excellent floor work yesterday. Well worth a gold that was – I’ve got no complaints there. No, it’s his pommel horse gong that’s got me fuming. Nicked my best stuff, he did. Shameless plagiarism, that, and I’m not going to stand for it.’
Mr Salto, 54, bases his claim on a YouTube video posted three years ago that appears to show Mr Salto performing several elements of Whitlock’s routine, including the spectacular dismount that earned the gymnast his historic gold medal yesterday.
‘Obviously, the circumstances of my performance were a bit different to his,’ Mr Salto told the Mercury, ‘Max had the added pressure of the intense media spotlight and a global TV audience of millions. But still, theft is theft, init? And I ought to know.’
Mr Salto, an unemployed scaffolder, performed his extraordinary routine down the Kingsland Road at the conclusion of a high-speed police chase and immediately prior to an 18-month stretch in H.M Prison, Wandsworth.
‘I was on my bike and I’d snatched this handbag, right?’ said Mr Salto. ‘It was totally a case of mistaken identity – I often snatch bags from friends and loved ones in a spirit of jocularity, if I happen to see them passing, yeah? Who doesn’t? And this bird looked just like my Sheila.’
Officers in a passing patrol car, however, failed to notice the resemblance between the alleged victim and Sheila, so felt obliged to gave chase.
‘I was over Dalston Junction – which is where they usually catch up with you – and hoping to turn left into the estate, but I forgot about those railings in front of the station, which is where I hit the kerb and spontaneously performed a 360 Degree Russian Wendeswing on 1 Pommel, followed by a Kolyvanov, whereupon I hit the lamppost and rebounded into a Scissor Hop Travel before executing my trademark Li Ning and a Flair to Handstand Dismount. The latter element was slightly compromised by the fact that I was being tasered at the time.’
We pointed out that, to the untrained eye, the CCTV footage of Mr Salto’s routine looked a bit like a fat bloke falling over some railings with his legs waving about, but Mr Salto said: ‘Yeah, well, that’s what it all looks like, init? Gymnastics? Except to we practitioners of the art and the cognoscenti.’
We understand that Mr Salto recently retired from gymnastics after failing to secure lottery funding to support his bid for Rio gold. Plus, his ankle monitor keeps getting in the way.
The case continues.