Swedish mayor in 'epic' Van Damme tribute

The Local Sweden
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Swedish mayor in 'epic' Van Damme tribute
The Höganäs mayor in action. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Just when you thought Jean-Claude Van Damme's epic split couldn't be topped, the mayor of a small Swedish coastal town has gone viral with an unlikely interpretation of his own.


Over 53 million people have seen Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two reversing Volvo trucks, and now one Swedish mayor has recreated the stunt.
"The town's communications team sent me the original Volvo ad right before we headed out to our filming location. I didn't understand at first," Höganäs mayor Péter Kovács told The Local on Thursday.
"Then they just said 'You're going to do what Jean Claude Van Damme did'. So I just did it."
With what appears to be tears in his eyes, the mayor stands with his legs slowly spreading as two utility vehicles reverse along a small road in Höganäs to the sounds of Enya's hit Only Time in a striking strings and panpipe rendition. 
As the mayor moves with the vehicles and the wind tousles his hair, he speaks of the challenges his municipality faces, but how the team is "standing on a pair of steady legs" and looking toward the future.
The crescendo sees the mayor standing with his legs stretched apart in a noble nod to Van Damme.
"It didn't hurt, everyone keeps asking me that," Kovács told The Local with a laugh. "If the road was a little bit wider I would have even gone all the way down."
And the tears?
"They weren't tears, it was just very windy," he added with an extended chuckle.
See the original Van Damme effort:

So why is the mayor of Höganäs making viral YouTube videos?
"Firstly, because Höganäs is paradise, a real paradise, and everyone should know that," the mayor explained. "We are always making ads, and we're often trying to come up with something a little odd."
As an example, he pointed to the municipality's move to adopt a different currency in 2009 in an effort to prevent people spending money elsewhere. On top of that, Höganäs has been rated the best economically managed municipality in Sweden for three years running.
Once an old mining town, Höganäs and its residents (totalling 25,057 as of yesterday, the mayor confirms) have flourished since the mines closed, with hopeful residents lining up faster than homes can be built. 
As for Kovács, he's in no rush to put his viral acting career to bed. 
"We've got a follow-up planned already, but I can't tell you much more. Keep your eyes open around Christmas time," he told The Local.
Oliver Gee


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