During the Games, the 48-year-old has whipped up huge crowds chanting his name, described beach volleyball players as “glistening like wet otters” and even found himself dangling helplessly from a zip wire.
By turning even the most unpromising situations into political gold, the Conservative with the distinctive mop of blond hair is increasingly being tipped for the job of his former schoolmate, Prime Minister David Cameron.
“This is Britain. The British do have a taste for eccentrics, more than many countries. It’s nearly always a good thing to be seen as an eccentric,” political analyst Tony Travers of the London School of Economics told AFP.