- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Outgoing D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday marked the beginning of summer by performing his last annual mayoral cannonball — a tradition he began when he took office eight years ago.

“One of the things you do when you’re mayor … is you’re above being proud,” said Mr. Williams, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election this fall. “When you’re mayor, you may have to be willing to do something like a cannonball with a straight face.”

The mayor came to his weekly press conference, held poolside at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Northeast. He was ready for the dive, wearing short red swim trunks, a white T-shirt, black Nike flip-flops and a blue Washington Nationals baseball cap.

After taking questions, he stripped down to his trunks and prepared for the final, bittersweet jump.

Mr. Williams said he expected his cannonball splash no longer may be what it was when he took office.

“I think I’ve lost weight over the years,” he said. “In terms of your score for impact that probably is going to go down because I don’t have the impact I did because I don’t have the weight.”

Mr. Williams mounted the diving board, bowed and took several long strides to the end. After a few quick bounces, he leapt into the air, held his knees close to his chest and landed in the water with a decent, but not overly generous, splash.

After cheers of “encore” erupted from the crowd, Mr. Williams climbed the diving board stairs again, took a running leap and landed in the water, this time with a smaller splash.

“I hope my successor, whoever that successor is, will do a cannonball,” he said. “I’m not sure I want to introduce legislation in the [D.C.] Council, but I would like this to become a tradition.”

Mr. Williams, who will leave office in January, has endorsed D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, a Democrat who is running for mayor.

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