In the world of record-breaking endeavors, sometimes the journey to greatness is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Richard Plaud, a Frenchman with a passion for matchstick art, recently discovered this truth in his quest to create the world’s tallest matchstick sculpture, a towering replica of the iconic Eiffel Tower.
Over the course of eight painstaking years, Plaud dedicated himself to meticulously assembling 706,900 matchsticks into a 23.6-foot masterpiece, surpassing the existing record by an impressive 2 feet. However, his dreams of entering the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records took an unexpected turn when he received news that his attempt had been disqualified.
The reason? Plaud had used a specific type of matchstick that, according to Guinness, did not meet the criteria for commercial availability. The matches he employed were not recognized as standard due to their unique features, prompting a ruling that left Plaud disheartened.
In a Facebook post expressing his disappointment, Plaud shared, “BIG DISILLUSION, DISAPPOINTMENT AND INCOMPREHENSION 😟🥺. [They] tell me that the 706,900 rods stuck one by one are not matches!!?? And they are too cut to the point of being unrecognizable!!?? Clearly, the English are really different……😤. No offense to the English.”
Plaud’s unique choice of matches, obtained in bulk from a manufacturer, had an unconventional backstory. Tired of manually removing sulfur heads from individual matches bought at supermarkets, he struck a deal for 33-pound boxes of headless matches. While this arrangement brought convenience to his artistic process, it inadvertently led to his disqualification as these matches weren’t commercially available to the public.
Despite the setback, Plaud remains hopeful. Invoices for the matches and evidence from independent observers, he believes, will prove that his record attempt adhered to the rules. Additionally, a glimmer of hope emerged when Guinness expressed a willingness to review the decision, acknowledging that they may have been “heavy-handed” in their judgment.
Mark McKinley, director of Guinness’ central records services, stated, “It does appear we might have been a little heavy-handed with this application.” McKinley assured a review of both Plaud’s case and the rules governing similar records, demonstrating a commitment to fairness in the world of record-breaking achievements.
As the world eagerly awaits the outcome of this matchstick saga, Plaud’s dream of securing a world record remains alive. His dedication and creativity have not gone unnoticed, and the unfolding developments highlight the challenges and resilience that often accompany the pursuit of greatness in the realm of extraordinary achievements.