With the London 2012 Olympics just around the corner, we wanted to look back at some of the most epic fails in Olympic history. Enjoy!
Some people achieve glory at the Olympics, while others end up falling flat on their faces (literally in many cases). Years of training can be destroyed by a trip or a false start, or by bad luck. Other fails come as the result of a later reveal that athletes’ achievement was the result of performance enhancing drugs. However, some fails are more spectacular, and include Taekwondo competitor Angel Matos delivering a kick to the head of a judge in the Beijing Olympics. The often gruesome nature of these fails demonstrates the high risk for accidents, or moments of madness, at the Olympics.
5 – Kick to the Head
Cuban Taekwondo athlete Angel Matos was disqualified from his event at the Beijing Olympics after responding to a call by referee Chakir Chelbat with a kick to the face. Matos received a lifetime ban from the sport, a problem that wasn’t helped by his coach accusingthe event organisers of trying to fix the contest.
Competing in the trials for the Seoul Olympics in 1988, Olympic gold medallist Greg Louganis attempted a reverse somersault dive, but cracked his head on the board on the way down. His cut received multiple stitches, but wasn’t enough to prevent him from returning 35 minutes later to dive. The potential danger of the incident was later increased when Louganis revealed several years later that he had been diagnosed with HIV before the Games.
3 – Track Intruder
In 2004 Vanderlei de Lima was on the verge of winning the Athens marathon, and was pulling into the final mile when an intruder rushed onto the road. Neil Horan, a defrocked priest, had made a similar intrusion in the British Grand Prix a year earlier. De Lima managed to throw off Horan after being pushed into the crowd, but was clearly disturbed by the incident, and struggled to regain his pace and composure, eventually finishing with a bronze medal.
American runner Marion Jones was one of the stars of the 2000 Olympics, and a successful track and field performer. In Sydney, she finished with three gold medals and two bronze medals, setting a new record for a female athlete. However, seven years later Jones admitted that she had used performance enhancing drugs during the Games. Jones’ admission of guilt
cast doubt over her previous performances, and was forced to explain how she had lied about her drug use. She later received a short prison sentence and community service, while being involved in a check fraud scandal.
1 – Mary Decker Trip, 1984
Mary Decker was one of the front runners in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Decker was
a favourite for the 3,000m event, but became tangled with South African runner Zola Budd,
and suffered an injury that pushed her out of the finishing spots. Budd was ahead of Decker at
the time, and there have been suggestions that Decker was equally at fault, stepping on Budd
and causing a collision. Decker later accused Budd of a deliberate trip, and the South African
was briefly disqualified, before being reinstated after the Olympic officials decided that she
was not directly at fault for the injury.