Poor Christopher Durnford. You know that the York Prep Academy principal was just trying to impress his father-in-law and boss when he embellished his cycling experience, claiming that he had been captain of a Canadian cycling team and telling tales of the day he competed in the Barcelona Olympics. "The road was rough that day, my friends, " he'd probably said. "I was on the verge of inching past Germany's Stefan Steinweg, leading my team to the gold medal when suddenly, a kitten appeared in the road. I swerved to avoid it, and alas, the race was lost. But at least I met Mittens…" How would they ever know? he must have thought. It's not like Americans ever pay attention to what Canadians are up to, in sports or anywhere else. But then the lie snowballed. His father-in-law, York headmaster Ronald Stewart, was so pleased his son-in-law was something other than a regular milquetoast that he added details of the competition to Durnford's bio on the school's Website, and the story gained traction, even though Durnford tried his best to play it down. "He's a pretty self-effacing guy," according to one parent. And then this week, it all went bad. Someone — who? Probably some enterprising ninth-grader with well-honed Internet research skills and an ax to grind — found him out. He called the Post, the Post called the Canadian cycling team, and it was all over. Durnford's weak protestations only solidified his guilt: "I do talk about trying to make the Olympic team," he told the paper. "I took a couple years off college to try to get there, but I never made it to competing for Canada." The lesson, kids? If you're going to tell lies to make yourself more impressive, at least make sure they're un-Googleable.
Tales Told in School [NYP]
York Prep Academy [Official site]
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