London may erect a replica of Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue to mark the passage of the Olympic torch to Brazil at the end of this year’s games, reports said.
The 30-foot (10-metre) sculpture would sit atop Primrose Hill, one of the most popular viewing points in the British capital, according to “secret plans” uncovered by the Camden New Journal, the local newspaper.
The upscale area in north London is home to actor Jude Law, supermodel Kate Moss and opposition Labour party leader Ed Miliband.
The paper said the scheme was set to go before the local council’s planning department and would be funded by the Brazilian government to mark the end of the 2012 London Olympics as Rio takes on the mantle for 2016.
The Brazilian national tourist board, Embratur, said it was “surprised” to see the story in the newspaper.
“This is only a concept that was being considered as part of a wider platform of promotional activities for Embratur and the Brazilian Government for 2012, when the focus moves from London to Rio,” Embratur said in a statement, which was issued through the Brazilian embassy in London.
It said it had held consultations “to gauge local opinion for a temporary installation that we hoped would be a celebratory landmark that helped to give the London Borough of Camden and Primrose Hill an opportunity to be part of the Olympic story.”
But Malcom Kafetz, chairman of conservation group the Friends of Primrose Hill, opposed the plan.
“I do not see why it should go there … It does not represent anything of England or Primrose Hill,” he told the Journal.
Arms open wide above Rio de Janeiro, the original 38-metre (125-foot) statue of Christ the Redeemer was built 80 years ago atop Corcovado hill in the city.
It is visited by more than a million people year and is the fifth largest statue of Jesus in the world.
[Image via Shutterstock.com.]