Who really is the world's tallest man?

Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:14am EDT
 
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By Phyllis Xu and Mark Chisholm

TIANJIN, China (Reuters Life!) - At 2.46 meters (8 ft 1 in) tall, China's Zhao Liang may well be the world's tallest person. All he needs is to be officially measured.

The 27-year-old was recently measured by doctors who were treating him for a foot injury, and was found to be some 10 cm higher than Bao Xishun, the 57-year-old Chinese man currently holding the Guinness World Record for tallest man.

Zhao's grandfather was 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) tall, but his parents and two siblings are of average height.

"I have been taller than other kids ever since I was born. When I reached the age of 16, I grew very fast," he told Reuters while recovering from surgery this week at a hospital in Tianjin, in northern China.

"And until I became 23 years old, I had been growing 10 cm (4 inches) every year," said Zhao, who weighs 155 kg (342 lbs).

Zhao used to be a basketball player in his home province of Henan in central China, but his sporting career was cut short by ligament damage to his left foot 8 years ago.

Because he was poor, Zhao did not get the damage fixed properly until he was offered free admission into a private hospital in Tianjin. Indeed, he cannot currently even stand up while he recovers from the surgery.

With basketball no longer an option, Zhao was unemployed until 2006, when he was hired by a street art troupe in northeast China and learned to perform tricks and play musical instruments.   Continued...

 
<p>Zhao Liang, who may be the world's tallest person, has his arms measured by doctors before foot surgery at a hospital in Tianjin municipality April 13, 2009. At 2.46 metres (8 ft 1 in) tall, Zhao may well be the world's tallest person. All he needs is to be officially measured. The 27-year-old was recently measured by doctors who were treating him for a foot injury, and was found to be some 10 cm higher than Bao Xishun, the 57-year-old Chinese man currently holding the Guinness World Record for tallest man. Picture taken April 13, 2009. REUTERS/China Daily</p>