The 2018 Winter Olympics have finally opened. The worlds’s nations are joining together in a display of sportsmanship like no other, uniting under one common goal: trying to keep Team USA off of the podium Okay, so maybe they are just there for the love of the competition, but hey, if North and South Korea can sit unified at the opening ceremonies, anything is possible.
Politics aside, the Olympics, both summer and winter, are about the athletes and their attempt to represent their country. Tucked among the glory of gold, hides the omnipresent Olympic fail! Whether it’s just a stupid mistake, attire mishap, or just an all-around embarrassing moment, failing during the games can be seen by the entire world. There are plenty of male incidents that we could look over, but for today, we’ll solely be focusing on female competitors from both the winter and summer editions of the Olympic games. There will be plenty of time to celebrate the world’s most elite athletes over the next few weeks, but we’re here to provide some comedic relief. It’s our duty to dig through the Olympic archives, and bring to you 15 embarrassing Olympic fails that these female athletes would like to forget.
15. Too Many Practice Headers
Olympians are usually put on a pedestal in our society, as their physical gifts make them seem nonhuman. The impossible becomes plausible, then the plausible becomes the norm. Every single year, with improving technology and training techniques, athletes are living out a Daft Punk song, getting “harder, better, faster, stronger.”
Still though, every athlete has their Kryptonite, and this Australian women’s soccer member’s weakness is… a water bottle?
That’s right, during an injury timeout in Rio, the “Matildas” captain, Lisa De Vanna. just couldn’t figure out which end was which on the squirt bottle.
Her friend and teammate, Elise Kellond-KNight, quickly came to the rescue, executing the perfect refreshment assist. Maybe they just drink from the other end ‘Down Under’?Never thought we would start off with a hydration fail, did you?
14. Hot Tub Wardrobe Malfunction
No, we aren’t going back to some 80s-party gone wrong! Our next Olympic fail comes courtesy of Spanish diver, Jenifer Benitez. While chilling in the warm-up tub between dives, the 24-year-old 3-m Springboard competitor was a little too carefree with her bathing suit. Audiences caught a healthy glimpse of the goods in the process. If you want, you can check out the video here.
While her wardrobe malfunction is just a simple slip-up that she probably looks back on and laughs, her performance in the games was not that light-hearted. The two-time Olympian finished in 30th, out of 30 competitors, with a dismal score of 224.6. I’m not exactly sure how the whole points system works, but to advance to the round of 12, you need at least 300 points from the judges on average. Benitez definitely had a few regretful days in Beijing!
13. Liukin Falls Hard
From national heroine to Olympic fail, American gymnast, Nastia Liukin, makes our list. During the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Liukin took the competition by storm, dominating the all-around individual portion of the event. The Russian-American athlete ended up taking home the gold, along with three silvers and a bronze. Truly, one of the most accomplished performances in gymnastic history!
Coming home, Liukin capitalized on her success, becoming the spokeswomen for huge companies like Subway and CoverGirl. The reigning champion decided it was time to defend her title in 2012, preparing for a tough competition.
But, during the U.S. Olympic Trials, Nastia slipped on the uneven bars, the competition she silvered in four years prior, dashing her hopes to compete in London.
12. Graf Forgets That She’s Live!
Two-time bronze medalist speedskater, Olga Graf, had a lapse of judgement during the 2014 Games in Sochi. The Russian athlete had just finished securing her third-place finish, when she proceeded to unzip her uniform, waving to fans. Unfortunately, she forgot that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath! Graf quickly realized her snafu, and covered up, continuing to celebrate with the home crowd. The whole video can be seen here.
After the incident, the Associated Press caught up with the Russian medalist about her wardrobe malfunction.
“I totally forgot,” Graf said sheepishly through a translator. “We have very good suits and they are very tight. … You just want to breathe and you want to take off your suit.”
“Only afterward,” she said, “did I realize that maybe this video will appear on YouTube. But I don’t think it will be so bad.”
She’s right, it wasn’t so bad, but still, I’m sure Graf would like to forget her indecent exposure to the world.
11. Wind vs. Dress
In a battle between mother nature and fashion, mother nature always wins! During the post-Olympics parade in London back in 2012, presenter and current BBC announcer, Helen Skelton, picked the wrong outfit for the weather. In front of two of Britain’s gold medalist,s a gust of wind kicked up her skirt, exposing herself to the world.
Like a professional, Skelton quickly covered up, while her co-host delivered the line, “Well, that’s one way to honor them!”
While the isolated incident isn’t too much to gawk at, Skelton’s Olympic broadcasting career has been filled with fashion faux pas. In Rio, while commentating on the swimming events, viewers were more enthralled with Skelton’s skimpy dress as opposed to the actual competition! Of course she’s not an Olympian, but she still falls outside our top-ten embarrassing Olympic moments. Someone needs to higher a new wardrobe designer.
10. A Real Sticky Situation
We move to the rhythmic gymnastics of the figure skating world, ice dancing. While we don’t see quadruple Axels or triple Salchows as much in this portion of the competition, we do see several wardrobe malfunctions. At the 2009 European Championships, skater Elena Rubleva suffered an embarrassing slip, exposing herself to the world.
But, that’s not the embarrassing Olympic moment that we are referencing.
In Sochi, American brother-sister ice dancing pair, Alex and Maia Shibutani, suffered a wardrobe failure that cost them a spot on the podium.
During their routine, Alex lifted Maia, but her black-sequin dress got hung up on his jacket. The pair was literally stuck together. They improvised to get unhooked, but their score suffered. Hopefully in PyeongChang, their stylist makes better decisions!
9. I See London, I See France…
Olympic uniforms are always a topic of discussion in the tabloids. The tight spandex onesies worn by athletes in the Winter Games can leave little to the viewer’s imagine. The lack of awareness by the uniform designers is sometimes laughable. I mean, I can understand Lulu Lemon having to deal with see-through yoga pants, but on the international stage, we expect much more from the behind-the-scenes Olympians.
In Sochi, the female Japanese speed skaters suffered a shocking wardrobe fail, rocking a whale-tail under their spandex suits. While the whole situation is regrettable and embarrassing, I can’t help but be genuinely impressed with these women. To compete on the highest level of competitive sports in such attire is nothing but incredible. We’ll have to watch over the next few weeks to see if any new uniforms are a little too revealing.
8. Svetlana Is Not Impressed
Before the age of viral internet memes, another gymnast, Svetlana Khorkina, was not too impressed with the results of the competition. In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the Russian gymnast was the favorite to take home the all-around gold, but fell one place short to Team USA’s Carly Patterson.
Khorkina chalked up her loss to conspiracy, stating the judges were out to get her.
“I’m just furious,” Khorkina, who had been favourite for the coveted title. “I knew well in advance, even before I stepped on the stage for my first event, that I was going to lose.”
“I practically did everything right, still they just set me up and fleeced me,” she said. Asked why she felt she was marked down by the judges, Khorkina said: “You better ask them. I think it’s because I’m from Russia, not from America.”
Now retired, the decorated gymnast still holds a grudge against the final verdict delivered 14 years ago.
7. Now, McKayla Is Not Impressed
Eight years after Khorkina, the American gymnast, McKayla Maroney, suffered a similar fate. In the 2012 Summer Games in London, as a member of the famed ‘Fierce Five,’ Maroney attempted to take home another gold in the vault, her best event. During the finals, after leading in the prelims, she missed the landing on her second vault, leaving her off the top of the podium.
During the medal ceremony, Maroney was clearly ticked off at the results of the competition, where Romanian gymnast, Sandra Raluca, edged her out by a tenth of a point for gold.
As we all know today, the unimpressive smirk has since been plastered across the internet, making Maroney one of the most recognizable Olympians of all-time. Aside from the infamous meme, this retired gymnast still lights up the web with her steamy Instagram posts!
6. Solo’s Olympic Village Adventures
USWNT goalie, Hope Solo, is one of the most outspoken female athletes on our list. In Rio, after Sweden milked the clock, beating Team USA in a 4-3 shootout in the quarterfinals, Solo called them “a bunch of cowards,” for which she was banned from USA soccer for six months. Let’s not forget about the unusual circumstances behind her domestic assault charges.
But, with a tough-nosed, competitive attitude, we are sure Solo sweeps those incidents under the rug. Maybe one embarrassing moment that she would like to take back was her confession to partying (and possibly sleeping) with Vince Vaughn in the Beijing Olympic Village back in 2008. We know that the Olympics can be a crazy time for athletes, but we assume that most competitors like to keep their international bedroom confessions a secret.
5. Synchronized Swimming Faces
Rounding out the top five of embarrassing Olympic fails that female athletes would like to forget is not an athlete at all; it’s the entire sport itself! Synchronized swimming is the competition of nightmares during the Summer Olympics. Even though these ladies are amazingly talented at their craft, they make Pennywise look like Fizbo from Modern Family.
Their layers of water-proof makeup, stylish nose-clips, and erratic facial expressions combine for one horrifying event.
Imagine swimming in a pool: you’re just splashin’ around, doing cannonballs, and attempting to do handstands in the shallow-end. All of the sudden, two Eastern European clowns emerge in a display of terror! Forget about riptides, sharks, and drowning, these athletes are the scariest threat in the water. Check out some more ridiculous pictures from these women who haunt my dreams!
4. Extra Boost In The Pool
Move over cupping and doping, American swimmer, Rebecca Soni, found an ‘all-natural’ way to gain an edge over her competition. It’s just simple physics really. For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction! A little extra boost can be the minuscule advantage that separates gold from silver.
Okay, aside from the hilarity of this whole thing, and regret that Soni probably possesses, this small fail is nothing compared to the American’s success in the pool. While she’s no Michael Phelps, the New Jersey native and breaststroke specialist is an accomplished Olympic swimmer. She took home two silvers and one gold from Beijing, and has enjoyed a myriad of achievement over her career.
Think about it, Soni is the one true Airbender! Master of the water, her career was on fire, she has gold and silver medals from the earth, and she can break the wind!
Unnecessary reference aside, Soni will be remember for her stellar accomplishments, not her flatulent fail!
3. Fit Girls Cry Too
There’s no crying in baseball, but no one said anything about balling your eyes out at the Olympics! World Championship marathoner, Paula Radcliffe, found herself in one of the most embarrassing situations in Olympic history. After dominating the track & field circuit in the early 2000s, Radcliffe was the favorite to take home the gold medal in the marathon in Athens. But at 22 miles in, only 4.2 miles from a historic finish, Radcliffe withdrew herself from the race.
The world was shocked as the odds-on favorite sat on a Greek curb, crying and contemplating at her defeat. Per Radcliffe, her exit from the competition was due to an anti-inflammatory drug she was taking prior to the games, which hindered food absorption. Britain’s hopes at gold were dashed, and the tabloids tortured Radcliffe for ‘quitting.’ Whatever the case may be for her abrupt exit, I’m sure this runner would like to forget the whole situation.
2. Cyclist Loses Control
You know, I never watch unpopular Olympic sports like cycling, but for some reason, back in 2016, I witnessed this horrific crash from Brazil in real time. Dutch cyclist, Annemiek Van Vleuten was poised to take home the gold medal in the women’s road race, but as she navigated down the tortuous, slippery slopes of the Vista Chinesa descent, she lost control.
The World Champion cyclist nicked the curb, sending her over the handlebars into one of the most embarrassing, scary crashes of recent Olympic history.
At first, you may chuckle at this fail, but Van Vleuten actually broke her back during the fall. With her Olympic podium dreams thwarted, and her future career in limbo, the Dutch cyclist refused to give up. Amazingly, with the resilience of a thousand athletes, Van Vleuten quickly recovered, earning a gold in the time trial during the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway. What an epic comeback!
1. Marion Jones Forfeits Her Medals
We have arrived at our top spot of regretful Olympic fails. Actually, this embarrassing moment wasn’t during the Olympics at all. The gold medalist and all-around athletic beast, Marion Jones, was caught using PEDs. Even though Jones consistently denied allegations of doping, in 2007, after the BALCO investigation and EPO tests provided definitive evidence contradicting her original claims, she confessed.
After serving six months in prison for lying to federal investigators, Jones sat down for a tearful, heartfelt interview with Oprah, setting the record straight. The IOC stripped her of all of her Olympic medals from Sydney (besides one), and slapped Jones with a lifetime ban. Although she takes responsibility for her actions, Jones still believes that she would have won gold without the assistance of PEDs.
The blacklisted athlete appeared in the spotlight again a couple years later, joining WNBA’s Tulsa Shock for one season in 2010-2011. Although she’s a gifted competitor, her athletic reputation will always be synonymous with cheating.
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