LONDON – Usain Bolt has already lost one nerve-wracking sprint in London – after Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beat the defending Olympic 100 meter and 200 meter champion in a boozy 4 a.m. street race outside an exclusive nightclub.
Rourke, the 59-year-old star of The Wrestler, described the extraordinary scene in a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports in which he described how he challenged the world's fastest man over 30 meters, and came out on top.
"We were outside the Wellington in Central London and it was four in the morning," Rourke said. "It was just that time of the night, you know, when anything can happen. So I went up to him and I said, 'Come on, you are the world's fastest man, let's go.' "
Rourke insisted, quite appropriately given the gap in age, size and sprinting pedigree, on receiving a head start as a small group of late-night revelers looked on in bemusement.
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"There was a space in the street of about 30 meters," Rourke said. "I got him to back up about four paces, we set off and I got him by a few inches."
The impromptu footrace, however, was merely one part of an extraordinary night that might be commonplace for the thoroughly likeable Rourke but sounds like a scene that would not be out of place in the next sequel to The Hangover.
The Wellington is a private members club in the fashionable district of Knightbridge, just down the road from Harrods, the super-expensive department store frequented by the Queen.
Rourke is so popular at The Wellington that he has a suite – The Room of Rourke – named after him, adorned with works by Damien Hirst and other contemporary artists.
The actor's partying ways at the venue have become the stuff of legend, and his meeting with Bolt earlier this year was no exception.
"I had been drinking tequila with these guys from the Huddersfield Giants rugby team," Rourke continued. "I was arm wrestling with one of them, he was huge, and that is how I tore my bicep. I should have given in but I didn't want to, you know.
"But at least I won something that night. We were going to go back into the bar again after I raced Usain but they had closed it down for the night. So it was a pretty good way to end up."
Bolt, of course, is regarded as the world's fastest human. The Jamaican will be racing under more conventional circumstances during the Games.
"Usain was such a sweet guy, just a really cool, endearing guy and it is impossible not to like him," Rourke said. "There have been so many times when you meet these athletes that you have seen and heard a lot about and most of the time you are disappointed. But he was awesome. I follow track a little bit and I will be rooting for him."
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