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'I'm Usain Bolt's body double'


HASSAN Reese's big break in modelling was less catwalk, more sprint, after he was chosen to be the body double for the fastest man on the planet.

The 30-year-old was picked from dozens of hopefuls to stand in for sprint sensation Usain Bolt during the Visa advert displayed on billboards and television before London 2012.

The part-time model, who lives in Norbury, was then selected to be the Jamaican superstar's body double for a waxwork at Madame Tussauds.

It is fair to say being compared with one of the world's most recognisable faces came as a bolt from the blue.

"I had the odd person telling me I looked like him but I know for a fact I looked nothing like him – he's quite a bit taller than me for a start," said Hassan.

"So I never imagined I would be his double, especially because there were so many people at the casting but for some reason they chose me.

"Even after I did the advert I didn't have a clue it was going to be that big.

"I didn't realise it was going to be a big Olympic advert."

The commercial was partly filmed at Gatwick Airport and it was while on set that Hassan got to meet the double Olympic champion.

"Usain was exactly the same [as he is on television]," said Hassan.

"He comes across very well. He's very calm, very cool. Sometimes he's quiet but all of a sudden you get a joke and you're not expecting it.

"He did have a big white trailer which was the size of a bus. Apart from that, he was very down to earth."

And in proof that lightning does strike twice, a few weeks later Hassan was asked to play the role of the world record-holder once again, for a waxwork commissioned by Madame Tussauds.

"I had to stand in a studio in my boxer shorts with five women standing around me taking every kind of measurement imaginable," he said.

"I stood in the Usain Bolt lightning pose which was probably one of the most painful things I've done.

"I did it over two days and, even though I would stand in the same position for about five minutes at a time, it was really tough.

"At the end of it I felt like I had a three-hour workout."

Having been given his first modelling contract when he was 28, Hassan was a relative latecomer to the industry.

"Some of the younger lads call me uncle," he laughed.

"When I was a teenager, if someone had said I was going to be a model, I would have said they were taking the mickey.

"A few years ago people started saying I would be good so I thought why not give it a go. So I took a photograph of myself, googled 'male models' and sent my picture to a few agencies. It snowballed from there."

Despite his success, Hassan said he has no intention of dropping his day-job as a caseworker for the General Dental Council.

He said: "I've been able to strike the balance between work and modelling pretty well so I don't see a reason to change."

'I'm Usain Bolt's body double'

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