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Aug 15, 2012
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When the world’s top athletes come together to best each other out in the tradition of Olympic competition, great things tend to happen. We’re sure you’ve heard of Michael Phelps’ insane collection of medals, of Usain Bolt’s trailblazing running capabilities, or maybe of that double-amputee who can run toe-to-toe with traditional two-legged runners. These guys inspire.

Buy you know what’s even better about these Olympians? Even when they fail or do something really questionable, they still inspire. They teach us the lesson that even when you’re supposed to be humanity’s cream-of-the-crop, that tiny, little opening to do something wrong remains. Here are some of the gaffes from the recently concluded Olympics that tell us hey, it’s okay to fail!

1) London Mayor Boris Johnson gets stuck on a zipline

Sure he isn’t an athlete, but for a moment during the games’ opening days, the zany mayor stole the show by getting himself stuck in the middle of a zipline, about 65 feet away from the end of the line. He was a sport about it calmly declaring that he’s “very,very well thank you,” when onlookers asked how the air was up there. For his efforts, the website DangleBoris was put up, featuring Photoshopped images of the mayor hanging from things other than a zipline. 

2) Matthias Steiner almost breaks neck

In what was one of the scariest moments of the Olympics, defending champ Matthias Steiner dropped his 432-pound barbell on the worst place one could drop it on: the neck. The 29-year-old German, once Germany’s male athlete of the year, failed to sustain the said weights above the head, resulting in what could have been a fatal mistake. Lady luck had been on his side that day, and was able to walk away from the competition relatively okay.

3) Stephan Feck invents new dive

For German diver Feck, belly-flops are way too passé. So in an effort to reinvent the game of painful pool diving maneuvers, he invented the back-flop, which may have been awesome if he were at some college party. But he wasn’t. He was in the middle of a preliminary round in the Olympics where his attempts to innovate the game went unappreciated as he finished dead last in the standings.  

4) Technical error makes Korean fencer cry

Sometimes, life just screws you over. When it does, well, it may be best to let it all out. That’s what Shin A-Lam did. The South Korean fencer was doing well in a match that would have taken her to the gold medal round. Then the clock malfunctions which allowed her opponent to sneak in a winning touch. For an hour, she sobbed on the piste (the fencing ground) while her coach made an appeal. But to no avail. The ruling was final, obvious though the mistake was.

5) Eight badminton players get the boot after purposely trying to lose games


There are sad things that are worth crying over, and then there's this: the Olympic's biggest scandal. Eight Olympic badminton players--four South Korean, two Chinese, and two Indonesian--went home in shame after the Badminton World Federation decided that these players were actively tanking the games. Why? To gain better seedings. You can say it was an effort to get a better chance at the gold, but clearly, there must be more noble ways. 

6) Tweet troubles

Will people ever learn? Two athletes got into big trouble after posting controversial tweets.

Michel Morganella, a Swiss football player, tweeted what sounded like just another romantic French phrase: "Je fonsde out les coreen allez sout vous lebru. Ahahahhahahaah deban zotre." As it turns out, it's far beyond sweet: “I f*** all Koreans, go all burn yourselves. Ahahahaha bunch of ‘tards.” Yowza. He had posted it after losing a match to South Korea.

Female Greek triple jumper, Voula Papachristou, also made an error in Twitter judgment as she posted a little joke she thought was harmless: "With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!" All that jumping must have made her forget that there's this thing called racism.

So what happened to them? The Olympic committee sent them both home, reminding every one of us the value of keeping one's mouth shut when all it has to say are shit-tweets.