Olympics Blunders

Carrying on with the Olympic theme, here is a slide show of Olympic blunders. Taken from BBC America, here.



Stockholm 1912 – Native American and ‘world’s greatest athlete Jim Thorpe won pentathlon and decathlon golds in Stockholm. He was stripped of his medals due to involvement in semiprofessional baseball in the U.S., only to be restored in 1983, 30 years after his death.


Stockholm 1912- Portugal’s first Olympic involvement came with a bout of bad luck. After covering himself with beeswax to mitigate sunburn, marathoner Francisco Lazaro collapsed after 18 miles and suddenly died – never making it to the finish line (pictured above). Cause of death? Dehydration from beeswax-clogged pores.


Berlin 1936 – After South Africa’s Thomas Hamilton-Brown lost his first-round lightweight boxing match, he consoled himself by going on an eating binge and gained five pounds. He soon found out that there had been a scoring error and he actually won the first-round fight. Unfortunately, those extra five pounds put him out of his class and he couldn’t get rid of them by his next weigh-in. The Berlin 1936 grounds are pictured above.


Sydney 2000 – In an effort to encourage involvement of athletes from developing countries, Sydney’s organizers introduced a wildcard draw. Representing Equatorial Guinea, Eric Moussambani was required to swim on his own during a qualifying heat when his two competitors had false starts. The amateur swimmer struggled to finish the 100m freestyle and clocked in at 1:52:72, a time much closer to the record for a swim twice that length.


St. Louis 1904 – American runner Fred Lorz won marathon gold on the hottest day of the Olympiad by cruising 11 miles in a car, undetected. He was later disqualified.


Rome 1960 – Milkha Singh (pictured above in 2009), India’s most celebrated athlete of his time, made the mistake of a lifetime in Rome. Though he had the lead in the final seconds of the 400m medal race, Singh miscalculated the distance between himself and the other runners. He slowed down and missed even the bronze – a devastating loss.


Munich 1972 – American springters Eddie Hart (pictured above) and Rey Robinson were given the wrong starting times for their 100-meter second qualifier. The gold favorites didn’t realize the error until it was too late and wound up watching the heat on TV.


Montreal 1976 – Boris Onischenko, a Ukrainian pentathlete, hoped to outdo his previous 1972 fencing silver medal at the ’76 Montreal summer games. So, he altered his sword to include a trigger that allowed him to score points without catching his opponent. During a match with Britain’s Jim Fox, Onischenko’s clever scheme was uncovered and he was disqualified.


Moscow 1980 – Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz set a new world pole-vaulting record at Moscow. The Polish athlete’s victory dance include a crude gesture to the crowd, which, to many represented Polish resentment of Russia’s control over Eastern Europe.


Seoul 1988 – Park Si-Hun, competing in his homeland of South Korea, was awarded boxing gold after Korean volunteers celebrated prematurely. America’s Roy Jones Jr. had clearly won the fight by landing over 50 punches more than Park, but the judges became overwhelmed by the crowd. They were later suspended.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s