Officials in capital reject winning entry in online poll despite more than 12,000 votes for naming bridge after action star
Slovak officials have rejected the overwhelming results of a popular internet campaign to name a new pedestrian and cycling bridge near the capital after the American action flick star Chuck Norris.
Despite 12,599 votes for the Norris name in a two-month online poll, Bratislava regional assembly decided to call the bridge spanning the Morava river and Slovakia's border with Austria the Freedom cycling bridge in memory of people killed attempting to escape communist eastern Europe.
The assembly's choice earned only 457 votes in the online poll, where it was easily outshone by other proposed names, including "Maria Theresa" after an Austro-Hungarian empress and "the Devinska cycling bridge" in honour of a nearby village.
"We have unanimously voted for the Freedom cycling bridge," Bratislava region chairman Pavol Freso told reporters.
"It truly is a place where people were running for freedom through barbed wire, it is a place where many have died, so this is a dignified way how to honour these people."
Slovakia, once part of the former Czechoslovakia, has a 66-mile (107km) border with Austria and many people died trying to flee the communist regime before its collapse in 1989.
Norris, a martial arts expert-turned flick star, is known for playing tough guy characters in such classic flicks as Lone Wolf McQuade, Missing in Action and The Delta Force.
And in more recent times has become the subject of spoof internet lore with claims such as "Chuck Norris has counted to infinity.
Twice" and "there is no chin behind Chuck Norris's beard; only another fist".
The actor's work has become a popular source of kitschy fun among Slovaks and a mainstay for local jokes about macho strength and invincibility.
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