The Roar
The Roar


12 days to Rio: This century’s greatest Olympic fails

When done well, diving can be a thing of beauty. When done badly though, well, just ask Stephan Feck. (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Ichthyosis GFDL)
24th July, 2016

With just 12 days left until the Rio Olympics get underway, we thought it’d be the right time to look at some of the less fortunate moments from the past few Olympics. After all, everyone loves a good old fashioned fail, right?

Let’s get started in Sydney 2000. As with every Olympics since 1992, the USA men’s basketball team was loaded with stars, one of whom was the high-flying dunking maestro Vince Carter. No-one, however, had given France’s Frederic Weis the memo, and the big man decided he’d try to do the impossible and block a Carter dunk attempt.


Weiss failed. Badly.

Carter jumped over the Frenchman – all seven feet of him – slammed home the ball, then almost knocked out teammate Kevin Garnett in his celebration. Not the greatest move on Weis’s part.

The next Games saw a far more infamous fail – and it came without the saving grace of a phenomenal slam dunk. We are, of course, referring to Sally Robbins, who lay down during the women’s eight final.

Australia was duly shocked and outraged when ‘Lay Down Sally’ gave up, but perhaps we shouldn’t have been. Robbins had a history of stopping rowing prior to Athens 2004, with Peter Wilkins claiming it had happened up to nine times before that infamous Olympic final.


As for Beijing, the 2008 Games played host to one of the most extraordinary acts of poor sportsmanship in Olympic history. Cuban Angel Matos took an injury timeout during the bronze medal match of the over-80 kilograms division in the taekwondo, but the referee decided he’d taken too long, and disqualified him.

Matos decided to prove his fitness by kicking the referee in the face. He was disqualified and later given a life ban by the World Taekwondo Federation. On a side note, the initials of taekwondo’s governing body are WTF. Fitting, isn’t it?

Finally, London 2012 saw a truly spectacular fail of the diving variety, courtesy of German Stephan Feck.

We’ll just leave this video here:

Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

The Roar’s countdown to the Rio Olympics

50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian