Reversing Course, Guinness Gives a Frenchman’s Eiffel Tower the Record

Richard Plaud toiled over eight years to construct a nearly 24-foot model of the Eiffel Tower. Each of the 706,900 matchsticks he glued together brought the Frenchman one step closer toward his dream: Achieving a world record for building the tallest matchstick sculpture.

But in late January, weeks after he finished the replica, Guinness World Record officials delivered devastating news: His Eiffel Tower was disqualified for being built with the wrong type of matchsticks.

“It hurt me,” he told TFI Info, a French television network, in an interview aired this week. He also expressed his discontent on Facebook. “GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT,” he wrote in a post last week. “Tell me that the 706,900 sticks glued together one by one are not matches!!??”

By Thursday, however, after days of headlines about Mr. Plaud’s disappointment over his disqualification, Guinness reversed its decision, saying that it had made a mistake. Mr. Plaud had earned the title, Guinness clarified in a statement, even though he had used matchsticks without ignitable ends.

Mr. Plaud with his model. Credit…Richard Plaud/Via Reuters

Mark McKinley, the director of records at Guinness, said on Friday that the organization regretted any distress it had caused Mr. Plaud during what should have been a time of celebration.

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