Rio 2016 parade imposters ‘meant no harm’

The two men who blagged their way onto a Rio 2016 Olympic parade float in Manchester on Monday have told Newsbeat that they meant no harm.

Zac Alsop and Jamie Rawsthorne, both 21, managed to get onto an open top bus by claiming they’d won fencing gold medals.

But they were rumbled by members of Team GB’s Modern Pentathlon team.

The British Olympic Association said it was disappointed but the two imposters said it was all a bit of fun.

“It added a spark to their day and it definitely made our day,” says Zac.

“We meant no harm and the athletes saw the fun in it. It’s all good fun.”

Jamie Rawsthorne, and Zac Alsop

Hundreds of athletes took part in the Manchester celebrations with more 150,000 people lining the streets.

Zac says they were quickly rumbled by the Modern Pentathlon team because they decided to say they were in the fencing team, which is part of their sport’s five disciplines.

Here’s the actual team celebrating on the parade.

But he says it was pretty easy getting on to the team bus.

“We saw a load of Olympic athletes just before it started,” he says. “We were running quite late because we got quite a few people asking us for photos on the way to the start point.

People supporting Team GB in Manchester

“We saw a few athletes running in and out of a hotel to go to the toilet before the parade started.

“So we gathered ourselves in the toilet of this hotel and followed some Olympic athletes through the hotel door and a police officer and a security guard waved us on through the fence.

They said, ‘You guys need to hurry up because it’s leaving.’

Zac Alsop with Samantha Murray

“We were ushered on through and got chatting to some lady, who directed us towards the Modern Pentathlon coach.

“They rumbled us but they were absolutely fine with it and we met the whole team. Samantha Murray came up to us, started talking to us about fencing and then said we might be on the wrong float.”

Samantha Murray

Zac says they bought the Team GB tracksuits in a high street shop and got their plastic medals on eBay.

But he says deciding to say they were Olympic fencers was a last-minute decision.

“We knew that we had to go for one of the less popular sports,” says Zac.

Jamie Rawsthorne, Loyle Carner and Zac Alsop

“Obviously if I was walking around saying I was Tom Daley, not many people would believe me. So we picked fencing.

“We only picked that an hour before we decided to go, so we were really not very well clued up, which came to light as we jumped on a bus and we got a barrage of questions here, there and everywhere about our different sword types.

Dizzee Rascal, Zac Alsop, Jamie Rawsthorne and another grime artist

“We just couldn’t answer the questions. It worked perfectly for the people that didn’t know but the athletes rumbled us straight away.”

Greater Manchester Police say they have no plans to take any action and Manchester City Council is yet to comment.

The pair say they’ve got backstage at a few festivals, including Bestival last month, and will plan their next blag when they’ve let the dust settle from the Olympic parade in Manchester.

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