By Debbie Emery – Radar Reporter
The Olympic Games are always packed full of heartwarming and uplifting stories — but just like everything in life — where there are winners there has to be losers, and some do it in spectacular style! RadarOnline.com has scoured the games over the decades to find the biggest bloopers of the Olympics.
7. Even before Friday’s Opening Ceremony had begun, organizers of the 2012 London Olympics had to issue a hasty apology to North Korea’s women’s soccer team after the South Korean flag was shown by mistake before their match against Colombia. The massive faux-pas was highly offensive to the Communist country, who consider their closest geographical neighbors to be puppets of the West and the relationship between the nations is notoriously strained.
6. In an effort to encourage developing countries, the 2000 Sydney games introduced a wild card drawer — much to the embarrassment of Equatorial Guinea swimmer Eric Moussambani, who had to swim solo in a qualifying heat after his two competitors had false starts. Rather than encouraging aspiring swimmers from his homeland, the amateur flailed in the pool and finished with a time of 1:52:72, which is more often the time for a swim twice that length.
5. India’s most celebrated athlete of his era, Milka Singh failed to live up to the hype in the Rome Olympics in 1960 when thinking he had a much bigger lead than he did, he slowed down in the final seconds of the 400 m race and let so many other runners pass him that he even missed out on getting a bronze medal.
4. The Jamaican bobsleigh team was catapulted to infamy in the hit 1993 comedy Cool Runnings, and while the filmmakers took a lot of creative license for laughs, it was based on the true story of a group of Caribbean sprinters tackling a winter sport from their island in the sun. It was the team’s performance in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary that inspired the movie, when the Jamaicans became fan favorites for being heavy underdogs. With little preparation and no snow in their homeland, the team (which was made up of Innes Sandy, Jason Zimmer and Clive McDonald) even had to borrow spare sleds from other countries to compete, but sadly did not officially finish after losing control of the sled and crashing during one of their four runs.
3. Tardiness is not normally a problem in the Olympics, except for American track and field sprinter Eddie Hart, who was favorite in the 100 m race in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Unfortunately for the Californian, his coach, Stan Wright, used an outdated schedule and he missed the quarterfinal heat completely. Hart managed to redeem his pride by running the anchoring leg in the American 4 x 100 m relay team, which won a gold medal and equaled the United States’ own world record of 38.19.
2.Cars were far less common in 1904 St. Louis than they are today, but that didn’t stop American long distance runner Fred Lorz from finding four wheels and an engine when running the marathon on the hottest day of the year. After struggling for nine miles, he pulled out and hitched a lift with his manager for the next 11 miles until the car broke down, at which point the athlete went the rest of the way to the Olympic Stadium on foot and was declared the gold medal winner.
Lorz finally ‘fessed up after spectators said they spotted him in a car, and Thomas Hicks was declared the winner despite being aided by strychnine, which has since been banned, and being one of the several runners who came close to dying in the sweltering heat.
1. One of the most inept competitors in recent Olympic history was so outmatched that he sparked a rule change – and became a celebrity sensation! British ski jumper Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards competed in, and finished last in, both the 70m and 90m events at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and his poor performance sparked rumors that he was afraid of heights and jumping. However his happy-go-lucky attitude and Mr. Magoo looks won Eddie a fan following around the world despite many athletes and officials believing he was making a mockery of the sport. In response to the outrage, the International Olympic Committee enacted the what became known as the ‘Eddie The Eagle Rule,’ which requires Olympic hopefuls to compete in international events and place in the top 30 percent or the top 50 competitors, whichever is fewer.