World Cup Final: Streaker Was Russian YouTube Prankster

Associated Press

Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, whose YouTube channel has more than 6 million subscribers, is the streaker captured on video by LeBron James as TV cameras cut away.

LONDON — A Russian prankster was the streaker who ran onto the pitch during the second half of Sunday's soccer World Cup final in Brazil, according to media reports Monday.

TV audiences didn't see the stunt, as the cameras that captured the game for the worldwide audience cut away to show viewers Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue instead.

Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, whose prank videos have brought his YouTube channel more than 6 million subscribers, was the streaker who had "Natural Born Prankster" written across his chest, according to a report in The Independent.

The prankster blew kisses to the crowd as he ran toward several players before trying to plant a kiss on German defender Benedikt Howedes, the paper reported.

The decision to cut away from the scene is a common practice during big live sports events to discourage streaking and other stunts.

Among the people who commented on the incident on social media was NBA star LeBron James, who uploaded a video of the streaker to his Instagram account.

"Hahaha!! We're going streaking!" James posted on Twitter. "Everyone's doing it. Man that was hilarious. #WorldCupFinal #Brazil"

Security tackled the prankster to the ground and dragged him off the field. According to The Independent, he took a "jail selfie" after the stunt.

Hollywood has also seen its share of pranks recently, mostly thanks to Ukrainian prankster Vitalii Sediuk, who crashed the 2013 Grammys, dove under America Ferrera's gown in Cannes and attacked Brad Pitt at the Maleficent premiere in Hollywood.

Twitter: @georgszalai


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