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   Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 12:41 GMT
Wagner's flight of fancy
Austrian-born darts player Robert Wagner
Wagner is a little different to the average darts player

When you think of the traditional image of a darts player, what comes to mind?

Probably not a muscular, lantern-jawed heart-throb with film-star looks.

But since Robert Wagner stepped up to the oche, things have changed - and no, that's not the ageing actor.

The Wagner in question is a 37-year-old former bodybuilder who has swapped pumping iron for throwing tungsten.

He has made a smooth transition despite adopting the dubious nickname of "Meat Eater".

If Wagner hasn't quite hit the bullseye with his choice of moniker, his victory celebration is double top - almost literally.

Wagner is nice to look at and he's an exciting player

Bobby George

Following his debut win over Gary Jacobs in the Embassy World Championship, Wagner performed an athletic hand-spring.

The watching Bobby George was certainly impressed.

"He told me he would do something no-one had ever done on the stage," said George.

"At first I didn't know what he meant - I guess that was it.

"I like to see characters play. If we just watched darts going into the board it would be boring. It's the person throwing the darts that makes it exciting."

Had Wagner enjoyed more success emulating fellow Austrian-born heavyweight Arnold Schwarzenegger, he might not have made it to the Lakeside.

But a growing band of admirers will be grateful that he has.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Body doubles? Wagner and Schwarzenegger
The technical analyst, who moved to Norway 10 years ago and now lives in Oslo, is less intense about his weight training now.

However, he still causes quite a stir flexing his biceps as he propels the arrows towards their target.

But image is not everything, and Wagner proved his talent by finishing fourth in the British Pentathlon and reaching the last eight of the British Open last year.

Unfortunately his dream of representing Norway will forever remain unfulfilled because of his adopted nation's natives-only policy for national team selection.

Yet to achieve a world ranking, Wagner will be keen to progress in the world championships to maintain his current momentum.

Belgian Erik 'The Sheriff' Clarys gunned him down this time, but who would bet against the unorthodox Wagner progressing further in 2004?

Certainly not Wagner, a self-confessed gambler.

And should his latest career move prove less than profitable, the multi-talented Wagner - who is also a part-time magician - may consider taking to the silver screen.

Actor Robert Wagner
Wagner the actor, not to be confused with the darts player
Darts is the focus of a new movie - "Poison Arrows" - which is being filmed over four days during this week's tournament.

That could open up new opportunities for Wagner, and he might once again trace the path of Schwarzenegger.

He could possibly start with a revised version of his namesake's hit TV show of the 1980's, which also starred Stephanie Powers.

Coming to a screen near you: "Dart to Dart", with leading man Robert Wagner alongside Phil "The Power" Taylor.

Sounds far-fetched?

It's about as unlikely as a somersaulting, dashingly handsome, well-built darts player.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Dart to Dart with Robert Wagner
"And that's magic"
Embassy World Darts Championship

Barneveld's title

Photo galleries

Bobby's Kingdom

Have your say

Official website
Links to more World Darts Championship 2003 stories are at the foot of the page.


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