Sports | History | Weird

13 Outrageous Olympic Moments That Made History For All The Wrong Reasons

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The Olympic Games are the world's biggest sporting event, and that means two things: they feature the world's best athletes competing on the highest stage, and something is bound to go wrong. Really wrong.

The cameras were rolling when these 13 downright weird events stunned the world. Which is good, because otherwise we wouldn't believe they happened at all.

1. What a difference five centimeters makes


Gymnastic fans who tuned in to the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia were stunned to watch one competitor after another miss their vaults.

Australian gymnast Allana Slater was the first person to spot the problem: the vault block was five centimeters too short, which had a huge impact on the jumps. The block was reset, but many competitors were too shaken by their falls to recover.

2. Run Abebe, run


Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila has two claims to fame: he's incredibly fast, and he has really tough feet. When he couldn't find a pair of running shoes that suited him, Bikila ran the 1960 marathon in Rome barefoot.

And - of course - he won and set an Olympic Record. He's just lucky there weren't any Lego pieces along the race track.

3. Seoul releases the roasted doves

Doves, the universal symbol for peace, have always been an important part of Olympic opening ceremonies. But live doves haven't been used since the Seoul games in 1988. The plan was for the doves to fly off from the Olympic torch during its lighting, but many of the poor birds were roasted alive instead.

4. Boxing crowd picks a fight with the referee

The South Korean crowd storms the boxing ring.Gusts Of Popular Feeling

Olympic referee Keith Walker was just doing his job when he gave Korean boxer Jong-il Byun a penalty for headbutting. But when Byun lost the match, the South Korean crowd broke out in a riot.

Even South Korean officials and stadium security guards attacked Walker. “I was very concerned at the time," the judge remembered about the scary moment.

5. Last man swimming

Mundo Deportivo

Eric "the Eel" Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea had never even seen an Olympic-size swimming pool before the games in Sydney. So how did he win a race against the world's best swimmers?

They eliminated themselves with false starts. Moussambani won his race just by finishing, and even though his time was too slow to advance to the next round, there's no denying he made Olympic history.

6. Tonya and Nancy

Daily Mirror

There's no single moment that sums up the strange face-off between figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Winter Olympics. After a violent attempt to sabotage Kerrigan failed, the two women competed in an event full of tears, dramatic re-dos, and a surprise ending that saw Harding finish in eighth place.

It was enough drama to inspire a Hollywood film, which of course it did.

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