The summer Olympics are always a global hit. It’s one of the few occasions that everyone in the world unites in celebrating common events of true, authentic athleticism and cheers on competitors from teams all over the world, regardless of personal connection. When the Olympics come around, we can all put aside our differences for a few weeks and have good, old fashioned, healthy, family friendly fun.
However, anyone that’s watched or heard of any part of the summer Olympics taking place currently in Rio de Janeiro knows that nothing about this global event has been smooth-sailing. While the Brazilian city was overjoyed to receive the honor to host the 2016 summer games, they’ve struggled to prepare every step of the way and step up to the demands of the monumental event. If the municipality had any idea how ill-prepared they were and would continue to be for the Olympic games, they might have resigned their hosting rights.
But there have been plenty of mistakes and mishaps in these Olympic games outside of Rio’s control. Many Olympians have incurred injuries, from sprained ankles to horrifying injuries that may take them out of their athletic careers permanently. Some of the mistakes were due to athletes over-straining themselves in efforts to win the gold, while others were horrible accidents caused by a combination of bad landings and ill-kept terrain.
Want a quick run down of all the horrifying accidents and crazy mishaps that have gone on at the 2016 summer Olympics? We’ve got you covered. Here are the top fifteen Olympic Blunders.
15. Green Swimming Pools
No, this image has not been photoshopped. Rio has had problems with several of their pools turning green. And we’re not talking about the jovial, fun green that Chicago turns their rivers every St. Patrick’s Day; we’re talking gross, icky green water with unidentified floaters. We wouldn’t want to dip our toes into this water, yet trained Olympians are made to dive into it. Um, ew.
Two Olympic sized pools have now turned this gross shade of green, and both have had to be completely drained and refilled. Each pool holds one million gallons of water. That means that two million gallons of Rio water have turned green in these pools and have been replaced with more Rio water (which also may turn green in just a matter of time). Supposedly, they turned green because of a hydrogen peroxide dump of over 160 liters. That much hydrogen peroxide neutralized the chlorine in the pools, allowing growth of algae and other unsavory bacteria.
14. Don’t Forget Zika
Zika is a very dangerous disease that’s spreading rampantly around the world. It’s spread often by the bite of a particular species of mosquito. While symptoms may seem mild or not even present themselves, the virus has serious consequences. Carriers of the virus are more likely to get Guillain-Barre syndrome, a potentially paralyzing condition, and female carriers that get pregnant while the virus is in their system will pass it to their fetuses, causing serious birth defects.
If you’re wondering where you’re most likely to catch Zika, it’s pretty easy to figure out. Central and South America are rampant with serious outbreaks of the virus, and Brazil is no exception. As fans of the summer Olympic games have ushered into Rio de Janeiro from all of the world, they’ve all gotten themselves exposed to this dangerous and easy to transmit disease. To prevent catching it, wear bug spray and avoid sexual contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the disease for a few weeks after said exposure.
13. Oh Yeah, Rio Has Two Presidents Right Now
You heard it right: Brazil has two presidents right now, and not because they both ran for president and decided “it’d be more fun if we worked together!” Oh no, Rio is in a pretty bang up political state.
What’s happened is that the president elect, Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office in May of this year due to “administrative misconduct.” The president covered up over $20 billion of deficit, as well as sunk the country into a deeper recession. Vice president Michel Temer has been acting as interim president as the country begins the process of formally booting Dilma from office, holding impeachment trials, and, in all likelihood, holding new elections. However, Michel isn’t sitting on his hands while holding office; he’s begun a federal investigation into grand schemes of corruption throughout the country and has grand ideas of cleaning up a lot of Brazil’s problems, though rumors fly that he’s just as corrupt himself.
12. Australian Quarters Practically Unlivable
Rio seriously struggled to get all of the Olympic structures, arenas, and game grounds built in time for the opening ceremony. Though it was a close call, they pulled it off in time and viewers were all kind of amazed that nothing came crashing down as soon as the wind blew. But just because everything appeared to be finished and lavishly decorated didn’t mean there wasn’t trouble in paradise.
When the Australian teams arrived in Rio and went to their assigned lodging, they found stopped up toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, dirty floors, water damage, and darkened stairwells, proving to be both safety and health hazards. When they reported the poor condition of their lodging, they received little to no support from Rio’s Olympic organizers; one tweet reports the Rio mayor responded by offering to “put a kangaroo there to make them feel at home.” Wow, Eduardo Paes. Way to be a certifiable jerk.
11. Least Watched Opening Ceremony Since 1996
Did you catch the opening ceremony? No? Well apparently you weren’t the only one to miss it; the Olympics opening ceremony dropped dramatically in ratings, a whole 28% from the London Olympics of 2012. Ratings for an opening ceremony haven’t been this low since the summer Olympics of 1996 in Atlanta (don’t remember why people didn’t watch it? No one does, because no one watched it).
Wondering if you missed anything interesting in the opening ceremony? London’s, four years ago, was just about epic; maybe Rio had something cool we missed. Unfortunately, you didn’t miss too much. Performers and dancers bounced around as images portraying Brazil’s long and ancient history were projected onto the Maracana floor. While it was a pretty spectacle, it certainly wasn’t the Olympic feat that London managed four years ago, or even the interesting choreography Russia whipped up two years ago. They definitely could have put more artistry and finesse into the ceremony.
10. Andreas Toba Suffers Early Knee Injury
German gymnast Andreas Toba went into the Olympic games hopeful and optimistic about his odds. He landed improperly in a floor routine and injured his knee. Andreas was completely heartbroken after the injury and left the floor despairingly but still determined to keep his German team in the running for the Olympic medals. Though most viewers were sure they wouldn’t see Andreas again after the horrible accident, he wasn’t gone for long!
Andreas came back, limping and grimacing with pain, to perform his routine on the pommel horse. Despite all bets against him, his routine was absolutely fantastic; he even managed to stick the landing with only a little bit of a painful wobble. His coach and team mate helped him onto the floor and back down again. While we didn’t get to see Andreas again after the pommel horse routine, the team has done pretty well overall. Though not earning any medals in pommel horse or the floor routine, the team won gold in horizontal bar!
9. Jade Barbosa Suffers Ankle Injury, Fails to Play it Through
Though the United States gymnastics team has been the favorite for years and no one expected anyone to beat the amazing Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas, Brazilian gymnast Jade Barbosa was a favorite and everyone anticipated a good challenge out of her routines. Unfortunately, Jade wasn’t as fiercely competitive as she and her home country had hoped. On the first pass of her floor routine, Jade landed poorly on her ankle, almost face planting into the mat. She tried to persevere and push through her routine, continuing through her choreography with a pained expression. After her second pass and a second wobbly landing, she looked up to her coach with teary eyes as she limped off her injured ankle; there was no way she could continue her routine. She left the floor in sobs and was taken away from the arena by her coach and Olympic EMTs in a wheelchair.
8. Sarah Menezes Hyper-Extends and Fractures Arm in Intense Fight
On day one of the Rio Olympics, tragedy struck the women’s judo mats in a big and painful way. Sarah Menezes of Brazil, gold medalist defender, was hopeful to win gold in judo as she grappled with Mongolia’s Urantsetseg Munkhbat; however, her dreams were soon to be dashed. Munkhbat fought hard to keep Sarah Menezes down. At the crucial point when Munkhbat threw Menezes to the mat, she got the Brazilian fighter into an armbar. Menezes tried to pull away by flipping onto her stomach and, when she did, Munkhbat pulled and hyper-extended the trapped arm. It looked like a clear fracture to all of us watching; Menezes immediately tapped out, granting Munkhbat the win, and stayed flat on her stomach in pain. Munkhbat sweetly stayed by Menezes’ side until the Brazilian coach joined her to escort the fighter from the arena. The young woman will likely recover, though hasn’t been seen much since the injury.
7. Ryan Lochte and Three Teammates Robbed at Gunpoint… Or So They Say
American swimmer and twelve time medalist Ryan Lochte went out to a party with three of his swimming team mates (Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz) to celebrate their final competitions late on Sunday night. When returning back to the Olympic village, they reported that they had been robbed at gunpoint. When Lochte refused to hand over his wallet, the gun was threateningly put to his head.
Rio police contest the reports the swimmers had made; they say that the swimmers caused an altercation and vandalized property when partying and forged the robbery story to cover their tracks. Though Lochte had already left the country in time and is home in the U.S., Brazilian judge froze the passports of the other swimmers to continue investigation of the incident. Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were even pulled off their plane home to the States because of “discrepancies in their reports of the robbery.”
6. Cyclists Run Into Photographer
Cyclists Richie Porte, Chris Froome, and Bauke Mollema, native athletes from Australia, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, respectively, were doing very well. All three were riding along pleasantly until they collided with a motorbike meant for capturing footage. While the footage of the three colliding with the camera might appear a bit comical and clumsy, there was nothing funny about the accident. Chris Froome deemed his best option as running and turned the Tour into a foot race; Porte struggled to right his bike and keep going, despite the clumsy error on the videographers’ part; and Mollema tried to persevere through the accident. Tour officials say the accident was caused due to an excessive amount of fans crowding around as well as abundant wind interfering with all parties involved. Richie Porte was, understandably, infuriated at the avoidable error: “if they can’t control the crowds, what can you control?”
5. Chinese Basketball Team Caught in the Middle of a Gun Fight
The Chinese basketball team was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. While riding their bus on Rio highways and stuck in traffic on their way to Olympic village, just after they arrived in the country, the Chinese basketball team looked out their windows to hear screams, popping noises, and utter panic. People abandoned their cars and ran off the highway. A particular man exited his car, grabbed his infant from the backseat, and hid behind his car. Some players were bold enough to film what they could see from their bus windows as a gang fight erupted just outside of the confines of their bus. The terrifying attack had erupted across two highways just north of the city and involved just four gang members, all of whom escaped the scene without pursuit of local law enforcement. The jarring event left the Chinese team wondering just how dangerous these Olympics would be, and if the trial of athleticism and strength was worth risking their lives.
4. Ellie Downie Lands on Neck During Floor Routine
Ouch, that had to hurt. Ellie Downie, gymnast from Great Britain, had already proven she was a force to be reckoned with in the 2016 Olympics. After demonstrating incredible prowess on both the bars and beam, Ellie took to the mats to continue her grand work despite feeling dizzy. She was in the middle of performing a killer floor routine when suddenly everything turned upside down. The 17-year-old tumbler launched into an elegantly choreographed and well executed tumbling routine that was cut short by a landing struck directly on her neck. She hopped up as if the injury didn’t bother her, but elected to cut her routine short for safety’s sake and told coaches and team members, “I crunched my neck.” Fortunately, Ellie did not suffer a fracture or sprain and was able to return to compete in vault, but the injury ruined her chances at success in the floor routine.
3. Annemiek van Vleuten Suffers Horrific Crash
The Dutch superstar cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten had the horrible misfortune to suffer a tragic bike accident. When leading a bike of cyclists down a steep hill and around a tight, hairpin turn, her bike failed to meet her expectations and she was sent flying through the air, wheels over heels. She landed in the gutter on the side of the road and seemed paralyzed in pain. Though aware that accidents happen and all sports require risks, she reported that she was furious that the designers of the race/course had to have seen the potentially life-threatening dangers of crashing on their course and did nothing to eradicate them. Annemiek remained conscious throughout the crash, but suffered horrible injuries: a jarring concussion, three spinal fractures, and painful face lacerations. She’s recovering from her injuries very quickly, despite the severity of the accident, and has already tried getting on training bikes again!
2. Andranik Karapetyan Dislocates Elbow
Armenian heavy lifter bent in ways he certainly was not supposed to when gunning for gold. He, very impressively, lifted 429 pounds over his head and held the barbell for a brief moment. In a quick moment after, as he began to buckle under the pressure and lower the weight, his arm gave out and snapped backward. The elbow broke out of socket and hyper extended in a horribly painful motion. The weightlifter stumbled forward in agony, holding his arm that had managed to right itself but was sure to house immense pain, to his coach and Olympic staffers who could help him. The young athlete, a reigning champion at only 20 years old, was forced to withdraw from competition. It’s believed Karapetyan will need surgery and years of rehabilitation to get him back into shape to lift again, though he may never again lift on a competitive level depending on the extent of the damage.
1. French Gymnast Samir Ait Breaks Leg
Samir Ait, acclaimed and adored French gymnast, took a deep breath as he prepared himself for his sprint towards the vault. He ran forward, launched into the air, impressed and amazed audiences with interesting choreography, and then dropped. When he landed, his leg fractured immediately upon impact. We’re not talking about a little break that might halt his Olympic games or cause a tiny bit of discomfort, but a visible fracture that seemingly turned his leg into jelly. He rolled off the mat in a grimace of pain and disbelief as audiences couldn’t help but stare at the awful tragedy. To add insult to injury, Samir was dropped after loaded onto a stretcher by Rio Olympic staffers. The gymnast was beyond upset, as anyone can imagine and empathize with. However, he’s released a video from the hospital saying he’s recovering well, though the fracture will certainly take a long time to fully heal.
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