World of Sport

Athletics superstar being sued over iconic ‘Incredible Hulk’ celebration

World of Sport

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Robert Harting

German discus thrower Robert Harting is one of the most successful and famous field athletes in the world. The London 2012 Olympic champion and three-times World Champion and reiging European champion is the undisputed master of his discipline.

On top of that, he's one of the most flamboyant and entertaining stars in the world of athletics, thanks to his exuberance, magnificent aggression - and his hilarious victory celebrations.

Those who saw it will never forget the day he lit up the Olympics two years ago. After ripping his shirt off to reveal his bare chest, he then draped himself in a German flag for his victory lap... which he crowned by taking on the hurdles, which had just been laid out for a later race!

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You'd think that Germans would be proud of one of their most famous sons. And most of them are.

But not all, because one rabid German fan has sent Harting a letter stating his intention to sue him for insulting the German state.

That's right: one of the men responsible for bringing glory to the Fatherland is being sued for celebrating his achievements.

Bild's report reveals that the court case is being brought because of Harting's shirt-ripping. The allegation is that Harting is in violation of German penal code 90a, which states that anyone who "damages, destroys or commits insulting mischief" against the German flag or its eagle emblem is guilty of "insulting the state or its symbols", an offence which is punishable by up to three years in prison and a hefty fine.

There's no doubt that Harting's serial shirt-ripping will certainly have torn up the German colours and symbols, though needless to say German prosecutors have so far let it go.

But one fan at least is determined to see him punished.

Harting's lawyer is confident that will all come to nothing, saying, "The whole thing is of course nonsense," and adding that his client is simply a victim of tall poppy syndrome.

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Robert Harting: Ordinary clothes cannot contain this man

Let's hope the case gets thrown out. Because assuming Harting wins the discus at the upcoming European championships in Zurich, it'd be a real shame if he felt he wasn't able to damage, destroy or commit insulting mischief against his shirt.

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