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The Strangest Moments in Olympics History

Posted on February 13, 2014

The ongoing Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are a reminder of the indomitable human spirit and a testament to what we can do when we put our minds to something. The memories of victory and triumph over adversity are countless and date back hundreds of years. But with so many countries colliding, desperate to win in all manner of sports, weird things are bound to happen.

So, in honor of all those odd moments, the team at Farah & Farah has compiled some of the strangest moments in Olympics history.

Literally Hot Women Lugers – Sometimes, ingenuity and legality don’t go hand in hand. The 1968 East German women’s luge team was disqualified for the medal-winning runs because of their unique way of winning – heating up their sleds to cut through the ice easier and make faster times.

Flaming Doves Not an Official Sponsor of These Olympics – Doves. They’re a great way to kick off any event! During the Opening Ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, dozens of the live birds were loosed to symbolize peace. Then they lit the Olympic cauldron. Countless flying doves were burned to a crisp by the giant flame for the entire world to see. Protests ensued. Doves are now used in sporadic, non-flammable circumstances during the games.

Live Pigeon Shooting Causes Fainting in Crowd – Only featured in the 1900 Olympics in Paris, this event saw hunters trying to shoot as many pigeons out of the sky as possible. More than 300 birds were killed, with the winner bagging 21. The outrage it drew, many women were reportedly weeping in the stands, meant this was its one and only appearance.

The Mysteries of Synchronized Solo Swimming – I know what you’re thinking. How can one person be synchronized? This most contradictory of events involved a single swimmer performing water ballet. Lasting from 1984 to 1992, this most lonely of competitions won’t be returning any time soon.

The Catastrophic Marathon of 1904 – A marathon run in 90-degree midday heat, a single water station 12 miles in, a runner in street clothes, participants unwisely stealing from nearby orchards (mid-run cramps!), a participant who hitched a ride to the end, and a winner who was helped to the finish by officials. The old Olympics were really messed up.

Seoul, Korea Crowd Attacks Boxing Referee – Think twice before penalizing the hometown hero. After docking two points from a Korean bantamweight boxer for headbutting, a referee was attacked by the Korean head coach and then the crowd itself, who poured into the ring to take a swing. The ref was rescued. Sportsmanship? Not so much.

Showboating Fail Leads to Snowboarding Loss – In the final race of the Women’s Snowboard Cross in the 2006 Winter Olympic, U.S. finalist Lindsey Jacobellis pulled ahead to an astonishing three second, 140 foot lead. No one was going to catch her. Then, she got cocky. During her second-to-last jump, Jacobellis decided to do a method grab in mid air to celebrate.  She slammed into the snow, went off course, and lost the lead, winding up with a silver when gold should have been all hers.

Are there any other strange Olympic moments that have stuck with you? Let us know. Enjoy the games and go Team USA!