6 times the Olympics went cringeworthily wrong


The Olympic Games, with all its incredible feats of athleticism, impeccable showmanship and chiselled, fat-free bodies, can seem like a totally flawless affair. However, what you might have forgotten is that over the years there have been some very cringeworthy mix-ups along the way. Here's a rundown of six times the Olympics went very wrong.

1. Jeremy Hunt's bell end goes missing

It's not half as rude as you might assume, but it's still very entertaining. Jeremy Hunt attempts to ring a bell during HMS Belfast's London 2012 Olympics celebrations, but the end flies off into a gaggle of unsuspecting women. So yes, Jeremy Hunt hit a woman with his bell end. All in the name of sport.

2. Tonya Harding's shoelace tragedy

Tonya Harding

This one has a rather sinister back story; in the run-up to the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, Harding's ex-husband and bodyguard hired a hitman to break the leg of her rival, Nancy Kerrigan. Luckily he failed and left only bruising, but Kerrigan was forced to withdraw from the national championship. After recovering, she scored a silver medal for the US.

Given Harding's connection to the attack, the media put a huge focus on her performance in the 1994 Winter Olympics. All eyes were on Harding, and didn't she know it. During her highly anticipated performance, Harding looked down at her boot and started sobbing before coming off the ice. Despite starting the routine as if everything was fine, she claimed that a shoelace in her boot was too short and that she needed to replace it before competing. Skating with a short lace can cause a broken ankle, so it's kind of a big deal.

Cameras then captured Harding continuing to weep as someone replaced her shoelace, exhibiting one of the most famous crying faces of all time. Watch the full video of a grown woman having a breakdown over a shoelace here.

3. Olympic torch carriers fall down


Sometimes it's tough to keep your composure when all eyes are on you, and no-one knows that better than the many, many Olympic torch bearers the world over. Not one but TWO people who carried the symbolic torch through Rio this summer fell down in the most spectacular fashion while carrying the torch along its route.

These tumbles aren't the only tribulations the torch has come up against on its journey - someone tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, a protester tried to steal it and an angry crowd blocked the Olympic torch parade through Angra dos Reis, a coastal resort south of Rio. See more of its turbulent journey here.

4. Sochi ring fail

Nothing quite marks the start of the Olympics like the symbols of the five Olympic rings, which is why this fail is so very tragic. Try not to cringe as four rings light up perfectly and the fifth fails to join them.

5. London's backstage team can't tell their Koreas apart

Newsflash: North Korea is not the same country as South Korea. Who knew?! Apparently the team in charge of organising flags at the London 2012 Olympics didn't. As the North Korean women's football team walked on to the pitch ahead of a match against Colombia, some genius raised the South Korean flag. The team left the pitch and refused to play until the right flag was raised.

6. Seoul's accidental dove barbecue, 1988

As part of the opening ceremony to the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, some bright spark decided that the lavish performance should include releasing a flock of peaceful white doves to flutter out into the sky. Unfortunately a number of the doves had other ideas and perched on the giant Olympic torch once released, which was then lit at the ceremony's conclusion.

Consequently, some of the poor birds got a roasting, while scores of viewers looked on in disbelief. Animal rights activists were thoroughly unamused, and doves have not been used at a ceremony since.