This week London 2012 managed an Olympic gaffe on the first day of events, even before the games officially opened. The North Korean women’s football team staged a walk out after being pictured with the flag of their sworn enemy South Korea. The problem was eventually resolved and the team returned to complete a 2- 0 victory over Colombia.
The games always throw up disasters, cringing moments and howlers and a few of them are brought together for you here…
Not boxing, but the parallel bars when Adrienne Nyeste of Hungary takes a sliding dive off the bars at the end of her routine in the Sydney 2000 Olympics instead of dismounting in the traditional way.
Fred Lorz was the memorable character of the 1904 St Louis Olympics as he collapsed from exhaustion after nine miles of the marathon and was driven the next eleven before recovering and continuing the race, being, not surprisingly the first home and looking remarkably well after such a test of endurance.
Eric the Eel
Another gem from Sydney as Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea who swam on his own in his heat, after the other competitors were disqualified and so qualified for the semi-finals. Sadly, he was a poor swimmer and despite having no competition he managed not only to fail to break the record for the 100m but was also outside that for the 200m. He became a cause celebre for his effort.
Eddie the Eagle
Another pseudonym for an equally poor but affable athlete, Michael Edwards was Britain’s entry in the Calgary Winter Olympics. Long-sighted, overweight, self-funded and with very small feet, his chances of success were already slim yet he set the British record at the games and came a creditable…last, in both his events. Still, the nation took a liking to him and he’s enjoyed success – off the slopes – ever since.
Wish You Were Here?
Imagine the embarrassment of missing your event at the Olympics; years of training, thousands of pounds of funding and you weren’t there to achieve success or otherwise. This happened to two 100m sprinters; Rey Robinson and Eddie Hart who were expected to pick up medals at the 1972 Moscow Olympics except their coach told them the wrong time so they both watched the race they should have been in, from the comfort of their athlete’s village lounge. At least that was someone else’s fault;
Wem Essajas; Suriname’s first ever Olympic competitor slept through his race at the 1972 Rome Olympics, not on the track but in his hotel room.
This list could become even longer by the end of London 2012 during which we can be sure other mistakes will be made, believe us when we say, the wrong flag will not be the last!