'Champion gymnast' named new Lara Croft

23-year-old Alison Carroll succeeds Karima Adebibe as real-life incarnation of famed game heroine.

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In February 2006, stunning Londoner Karima Adebibe was selected to be the real-life incarnation of Lara Croft. Now, her two-and-half year reign has ended. Today, cash-strapped SCi subsidiary Eidos Interactive announced it has chosen an even fresher face for the flesh-and-blood version of the Tomb Raider heroine.

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In real life, the new Lara is Alison Carroll, hailing from the London suburb of Croydon. Though she worked most recently as a receptionist, Eidos says the 23-year-old was a "champion gymnast" who represented the UK in several unspecified international events. Carroll still trains six days a week and will undergo the same survival training as the Special Air Service (SAS), the British Army's most elite unit. To further Croft-ize her, Eidos will also spring for a special weapons course and archaeology lessons.

"This is a fantastic opportunity, and I am really looking forward to embracing Lara's world," said Carroll in a statement. "This is my dream job. I have always wanted to be an action hero and hope to be able to use my gymnastic ability to perform all of Lara's stunts." Past Lara Croft models' duties consist of attending promotional events and game-related conferences.

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Besides Adebibe, Carroll follows in the footsteps of several other notable former real-world Lara Crofts. Besides Angelina Jolie, who played her in two films, the adventurer has been portrayed by actress Rhona Mitra, star of the recent sci-fi film Doomsday. The first model tapped to play Croft was Nell McAndrew in 1999, three years after the first Tomb Raider game debuted. The next installment in the series is Tomb Raider: Underworld, due out this November in the US and Europe.

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