Paris vaulter's nude streak

PARIS, March 31 AFP - Polevaulter Romain Mesnil has unleashed an unabashed stunt to raise his profile and attract sponsorship by posting a video of himself running nude through Paris on the Youtube website.
The 46-second video shows the burly 31-year-old clutching his pole and running through some of the capital’s most famous streets, including tourist spots such as Montmartre and the Pont des Arts across the River Seine.
Although he runs along in his birthday suit a black square has been superimposed over the footage to cover his private parts.
Mesnil, silver medallist at the 2007 athletics world championships in Osaka, recently saw his sportswear sponsor decide to scale down his contract given the ongoing global financial crisis.
On Tuesday, Mesnil tried a slightly less controversial approach in parallel to his nude stunt by launching a 10-day attempt to get sponsors via the French version of the eBay online auction website.
Those who click onto the site can place a bid to sponsor the athlete, with any profits going to a brain tumour research group.
In the meantime, Mesnil’s nude run has certainly whipped up interest with some 300,000 views by Tuesday afternoon.
``In times of crisis you have to come up with a novel approach,’’ explained Mesnil, who has also in recent weeks worn a black kit with a big white question mark where normally the sponsor’s logo would be.