The pinnacle of athletic accomplishments; the Olympic Games. Athletes cross the world showcase their strength, speed, agility, and technique in the ultimate sports competition. On such a large stage, heroes are born. Gold medalists are able to rest easy, knowing they succeeded in representing their country. USA Olympic Champion wrestler, Dan Gable, said it best: "Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."
While a select few athletes experience the fame and glory of listening to their country's anthem on top of the podium, many other athletes gain their popularity through infamy. Some of these athletes may fail, crumbling under pressure. Others may just light up the internet with an unfortunate performance. Either way, some athletes are just known for their flubs, rather than their athletic abilities.
Today here at TheSportster, we will focus on some of the most funny, yet shameful photographs of female Olympians. We are sure you've seen some of these wacky images before, but do you know the stories behind them? Represent your country with the 15 most embarrassing photos of female Olympians ever taken!
15 Uceny Goes Down
Imagine dedicating your life to a sport, training day in and day out to become an Olympic Champion, only to fall on the final lap. Welcome to the world of American track & field star, Morgan Uceny. In the 2012 London games, the former Cornell runner was looking to take home the Gold in the 1500 meter race. She ran a solid heat, staying safely on the outside of the pack for the first three laps. During the final turn, when the runners try to separate themselves, Uceny got tripped up, dashing her hopes of standing atop the podium.
She fell to the ground in tears, as a tidal wave of emotions rushed over her. This had been the second time in two years that Uceny fell flat on the final lap, as she slipped up in the 2011 World Championships too. We admit, this photo is more sad than embarrassing.
14 That's Not How You Pole Vault
The Olympic sport of pole vaulting is no easy task. You have to run full speed, plant a pole in the ground, and launch your way up and over a bar, only to hopefully land on a mat. Many athletes don't make it, providing the internet with an ample supply of fail videos. That's where Ukrainian pole vaulter, Ganna Shelekh comes in.
During the 2012 London Games, Shelekh had a pitiful performance, barely making it over the 4.1-meter mark, and failing at the height of 4.5-meters. While the above photo is embarrassing enough, it's not the most embarrassing moment she has had! Shelekh approached the vault only to miss the plant, barely getting one meter in the air. The original video has been pulled from the internet, you can enjoy another fail from the Ukrainian athlete that we were able to dig up.
13 Bobsled Malfunction
Let's move on to a Winter sport: bobsled. At the start of the track, these athletes dig into the ice, pushing their sled as fast as possible, before jumping in and navigating the tumultuous course at speeds over 80 mph. With a margin of error so small, the competitors must take advantage of every single aspect of the game, including aerodynamics. That's why they where skin-tight suits, which allow for reduced drag from the air.
Sometimes though, their spandex uniforms are too flimsy, and you get the occasional wardrobe malfunction. Take British Olympian, Gillian Cooke, for example. At the 2012 World Championships in Switzerland, in an attempt to warm-up before the race, Cooke split her pants! Team Britain went on to grab seventh-place, but it was the embarrassing ripped uniform that had the media buzzing!
12 Perfect Timing
There is no more decorated duo in the history of the Olympics than Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings. The American beach volleyballers took home three straight Olympic golds from 2004 to 2012. Both became American icons, and were integral in popularizing the sport of beach volleyball in the USA. Outside of Michael Phelps, they are arguably the most dominant American athletes since 2000.
In 2004 though, after defeating the Brazilian team in the finals in Athens, Kerri went in for a victory hug, but the photographer caught the gold medalists at a bad angle. There is no need to elaborate on the photo, since we all know what it looks like! Don't worry we will always remember May and Walsh for their Olympic dominance, not this unfortunately-timed photo!
11 Ice Dancing Fail
Most people are unaware that Ice Dancing is an actual Olympic event. Focused more on the choreography and chemistry of the skaters as compared to regular figure skating, Ice Dancing still has it's fair share of embarrassing moments. In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Lithuanian competitors, Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas, took a tumble during their routine, dashing their hopes at a medal. The look of disappointment on their faces says at all.
That's not the only mishap to happen within the event. While she didn't qualify for our list since she never attended the Olympics, Russian skater, Ekaterina Rubleva was the center of attention in the 2009 European Championships in Helsinki. As her partner, Ivan Shefer lifted her arm to twirl her, Rubleva's dress malfunctioned, exposing herself to the world! Both of these moments are extremely embarrassing!
10 Losing All Bodily Control
When you think of weightlifting, images of the d-bag from the gym probably pop into your head. Everyone knows the guy we are talking about: carries a gallon of water, gives "lifting tips" to the Insta-chicks, and makes his presence known through obnoxious, primal grunts. If you go to the gym and don't know who we are talking about, look in the mirror. That d-bag is probably you!
But, Olympic weightlifting is not your typical chain gym. These athletes rely on technique, as much as muscle, to clean and snatch their way onto the podium. Since competitor weight is regulated, these women have to use every ounce of energy to lift the bar over their head. Unfortunately for Olympic lifters like Maria Alexander, throwing 100 kg over your head comes with the loss of all bodily functions, as you can see from this embarrassing photo. Word for the wise: next time you try to max out at the gym, make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand.
9 Liukin Falls Flat
If you don't know the name Nastia Liukin, you either live under a rock, or don't give a hoot about the Olympics. In which case, I'm not even sure why you are here! Anyway, the Russian American gymnast was destined for greatness, as both her parents won gold medals in gymnastics on the world stage. The blonde bombshell dominated the 2008 Games in Beijing, bringing home three silvers, but grabbing the gold in the individual all-around competition.
After her historic run in China, the ad money kept rolling in for Nastia, and she decided to call it quits in the gymnastics world. But, the spirit of competition drove the champion to make a comeback in 2012. Unfortunately, her career literally fell flat at the Olympic qualifiers, as she missed a simple maneuver on the uneven bars, leaving her flat on her face, contemplating her future. While she will always be recognized for her smiling face atop the podium in Beijing, for now, we recognize her for this embarrassing performance!
8 Never Give Up
Distance running is no walk in the park. While trying to compete at a high-level, these athletes deal with blisters, torn ligaments, chafed thighs, chafed armpits, and even chafed nipples! Although these minor ailments add up, these ladies never give up, especially in the spotlight of the Olympics.
Back in 1997, Nabiat Habtemariam, an Eritrean athlete who specialized in the 5000 meter and marathon events, was trying to qualify for the World Championships. But, she lacked her own gear, and asked to borrow a teammates singlet, but forgot to ask for a sports bra. She spent the next 18 minutes with one breast hanging out while running her race, and reportedly didn't come out of her hotel room for a week. While this is definitely embarrassing, we want to commend Habtemariam for having the guts, courage, and determination to run a race in which most of us would have dropped out in shame. Seriously, this woman is amazing!
7 Douglas Hangs On To Her Legacy
Gabby Douglas' story is very similar to Liukin's. In the 2012 Summer games in London, she took home the individual all-around gold, along with a team gold, yet soon disappeared into the shadows of gymnastics, forfeiting the spotlight to newcomer, Simone Biles, in 2016. While Gabby did help Team USA out with their gold medal run in Rio, she was not an integral piece of the puzzle.
Going back to London, despite Douglas' overall dominance, she struggled in the finals of the balance beam. While performing a simple 180 degree split jump, Douglas slipped and fell in the middle of the four-inch beam, leaving her hanging on to the bar and her legacy. She finished seventh out of eight competitors in the event, but most supporters forgot about this flub since she was able to take home two medals to the USA that summer!
6 Use The Force
When you gotta go, you gotta go! Before you judge this Olympic swimmer, take a look at yourself. I can guarantee most of you have done a lot worse than "blow some bubbles" in the pool. Plus, for you physics nerds out there, Newton's third law states that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Maybe she was just trying to get an extra boost!
When you're done laughing your tail off at this gif, you should know a little bit about the swimmer herself. This is a Rebecca Soni, an accomplished athlete, who has six Olympic medals to her name. While she's no Michael Phelps, Soni is a prominent name in the swimming community and has the hardware to prove it. Rock on, Rebecca!
5 Diving Faces
It's time to dive into the water with some embarrassing diver faces from the Olympics. While most embarrassing moments have occurred from competitors clipping their head on the board (we are talking about you Greg Louganis), today, we are going to focus on the ridiculous expressions that these divers make whilst twisting, spinning, and flipping into the water.
The fw.com has a whole gallery of "derp" divers. While we sit here making fun of these athletes, you've got to applaud them for their perfect execution, using every muscle in their body to achieve the ideal dive. I mean, I can't even properly execute a cannonball, let alone pull off a two-and-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists! Still though, that's gotta be embarrassing to have your "Oh Face" plastered across the internet!
4 Oh, I'm On Television
Training for hours and hours on end to achieve your dreams must get pretty lonely sometimes. You spend half your life in solitude with your teammates and coach, preparing to achieve your dreams. Day in and day out, you form habits, both good and bad, in the name of competition. Well, Russian speed skater, Olga Graf, forgot she was on the Olympic stage, and one of her bad habits was showcased to the world.
After taking home the bronze medal, Graf zipped down her suit, exposing herself to the audience! Like we said, after hours alone on the ice, it's hard to transition to the big stage. Lucky for Graf, the audience didn't see too much, and she was able to skate by with this simple mistake.
3 McKayla Maroney's Unimpressed Meme
McKayla Maroney has recently come forward with allegations that there was sexual misconduct going on when she was still a part of USA gymnastics. If her allegations are in fact true, let's hope the perpetrator(s) face justice.
Back, to the picture though.. Maroney had been training for the Olympics through her teenage years, and it all culminated in the 2012 London games. While Maroney performed well and took home a silver medal, she didn't look all too thrilled about settling for 2nd. This face has now become a part of internet lore, as Maroney's unimpressed look has been splattered across memes. Maroney retired from gymnastics in 2016, and has since caused some controversy by posting risque pictures on Instagram. Many feel she has disappointed young girls who saw her as a role model.
2 Synchronized Swimming
Before we begin with this entry, we want to ask one question: who would argue against synchronized swimming should be an Olympic sport? These ladies perform some of the craziest stunts, which involve every single muscle of their body. The judges score them based on their difficulty, execution, synchronization, among other things. For some reason though, every single competitor makes the most embarrassing and ridiculous faces whilst dancing in the water.
Despite the insane amount of athletic ability and dedication that the competitors possess, during the actual routine, they actually look possessed! So, what's the moral of the story? Next time the Summer Olympics roll around in 2020 in Tokyo, make sure to check out the ridiculous, crazy expressions on the swimmers' faces! For the meantime, we'll leave you with a hilarious gallery of embarrassing synchronized expressions.
1 You Put Your What, Where?
The most embarrassing photo of female Olympians is none other than these feisty female wrestlers. As you can see, the women in blue is trying to gain leverage against her opponent by "entering the backdoor." While the move isn't completely illegal, it's typically frowned upon in the wrestling community.
There are certain cases that have sparked some controversy on the men's side though, as a California competitor was even charged with sexual assault after he continually performed "prostate exams" on his opponents to gain an advantage.
While the special move has always been up for debate in the wrestling world, the Olympics provide plenty of other hilarious and embarrassing photos from the mat. That's it for the 15 most embarrassing photos of female Olympians ever taken. Maybe after the 2018 Winter games in Pyeongchang, we may have some more entries to add to the list!