The man who build an Eiffel Tower using 700,000 matchsticks has been granted a world record after all

Earlier this week, the Frenchman experienced disappointment when he was informed that his 23-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower—crafted from 700,000 matchsticks over an eight-year period—could not officially be recognized as a world record due to his use of incorrect matches.

However, the Guinness Book of World Records announced on Friday that it had reversed its decision and now considers his endeavor to be valid and compliant with the rules.

The Guinness website now lists the entry for the tallest matchstick sculpture as follows: “The tallest matchstick sculpture is 7.18m (23ft 6in), achieved by Richard Plaud (France) in Saujon, Charente-Maritime, France, on 7 January 2024.”

On Wednesday, the company stated that it was reassessing its initial ruling, prompted by concerns that Plaud had utilized matchsticks that were not commercially available.

Mark McKinley, the director of central records services at Guinness World Records, expressed in a statement that upon gaining a better understanding of Plaud’s methods and reviewing his model alongside similar attempts, they realized they had been too strict in applying their rules in this instance. “We are therefore delighted to bestow Richard with the Guinness World Records title and have rectified certain inconsistencies within our regulations to allow matchsticks to be trimmed and shaped as the modeler sees fit,” he remarked.

McKinley also conveyed Guinness’s regret for the distress caused to Richard over the past 24 hours, a period that should have been celebratory for him.

Plaud, speaking to Reuters, described the experience as an “emotional rollercoaster” but emphasized that he never lost faith. “For eight years, I always believed I was constructing the tallest matchstick structure,” he shared with the news agency.

When Plaud commenced his monumental project in December 2015, he initially purchased matchboxes from supermarkets and painstakingly removed the small sulfur tips from each match. Later, he arranged with a manufacturer to have headless matches directly supplied to him—an arrangement initially considered grounds for disqualification by Guinness.

Plaud’s journey gained global attention earlier in the week when he voiced his criticism of Guinness’s decision on social media.

“Having a world record was a childhood dream. I always kept that in mind,” Plaud recounted to Le Parisien in January.

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