The term “wardrobe malfunction” was coined after Janet Jackson infamously exposed her breast during her Super Bowl halftime performance with Justin Timberlake in 2004. It has been ten years since then, and the phrase is still going strong. Actors, musicians, and celebrities in general are in the spotlight so often, they are bound to have issues with their sometimes precarious outfits from time to time. But they aren’t the only ones that unfortunately have to deal with having their embarrassing moments caught on camera.
Professional athletes choose their wardrobes based on what is functional, and won’t interfere with their ability to compete. But sometimes their clothing fails them at the worst possible moment. Here are 15 athlete wardrobe malfunctions that you have to see to believe.
Ricky Berens, Swimmer
During the World Championships in Rome in 2009, American swimmer Ricky Berens was competing in a qualifying heat for the 4×100 freestyle relay. He bent down to stretch before diving in, and his swimsuit ripped right up the back, exposing his entire backside. That didn’t stop him from swimming in the race with his team, where they not only qualified but went on to win first place.
Flavia Zoccari, Swimmer
While a ripped swimsuit didn’t hinder Ricky Berens in any way, it had the exact opposite effect on Italian swimmer, Flavia Zoccari. She was getting ready to compete in a race at the Mediterranean Games in 2009 when her high tech swimsuit burst open right up the back. She was disqualified from the race, and ended up watching her fellow competitors swim from the sidelines. Ironically, the Jaked swimsuit she was wearing was banned earlier that year because it was giving swimmers an unfair advantage. The ban was lifted before the Mediterranean Games, unfortunately for Flavia.
Gillian Cooke, Bobsled
In another case of ill-fated stretching, British bobsledder, Gillian Cooke gave everyone behind her a show when her outfit ripped, exposing her backside. She was competing in the World Championships in Switzerland in 2010, and she didn’t let the sudden breeze stop her from jumping in the back of the bobsleigh, and taking seventh place. She and her partner went on to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Ekaterina Rubleva, Figure Skater
Figure skaters don’t wear much clothing to begin with, but Russian figure skater, Ekaterina Rubleva ended up exposing more than she planned at the European Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki in 2009. During a routine with her partner, one of the straps on her pink outfit snapped, revealing her right breast to the crowd. She took it all in stride though, and managed to finish the routine.
Jenifer Benitez, Diver
Adjusting your swimsuit is a necessary part of being an Olympic diver, the only problem is, there are cameras on you at all times. That doesn’t exactly give you any privacy to put things back where they are supposed to be, which Spanish diver, Jenifer Benitez found out at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Benitez was adjusting her swimsuit when her scores were announced, and she accidentally revealed her nipple to the world.
Jelena Jankovic, Tennis Player
During the 2014 Rogers Cup in Montreal, Serbian tennis player, Jelena Jankovic, was in the middle of a second round match against Sloane Stevens, when her bra strap snapped. She went on to win the match, but not before a nice female fan helped her fix her bra strap. Jankovic had another wardrobe malfunction back in 2008 when she decided she needed to change her underwear on the court sidelines in the middle of a match. Bad underwear luck.
Brie Bella, Wrestler
Whether you think professional female wrestlers are true athletes or not, the WWE is full of wardrobe malfunctions. During Raw in July 2013, Brie Bella, one of the highest profile members of the Total Divas franchise, was participating in a casual interview when her breast decided to pop out of her dress. And she wasn’t even wrestling at the time! She tweeted the next day, “I apologize 4 my wardrobe malfunction I’m embarrassed & it looks as though the humidity made my tape come off. You’ll never see that again! B”
Paul Pierce, Basketball Player
Indiana Pacers defensive player Ron Artest was trying out a new strategy against Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce when he decided to distract Pierce by pulling his shorts down in the middle of a game. But instead of getting flustered, Pierce just turned around, and sunk a 3-point basket. So, pantsing someone is officially not a legitimate defensive tactic in basketball.
Christina Tsoukala, Water Polo player
Water polo seems like the kind of sport where wardrobe malfunctions are par for the course. You are already wearing a skin tight bathing suit, and people are grabbing at you from every direction, there is bound to be a nip slip every so often. That is exactly what happened to Greece’s Christina Tsoukala during a match against Australia during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Devin Hester, Football player
When the goal is to tackle other players, it isn’t really surprising that clothing would get pulled the wrong way sometimes. As a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, Devin Hester should be used to getting tackled. But he probably didn’t expect to have his pants pulled down, like in this game against the Philadelphia Eagles 2009. Sometimes grabbing on to whatever is within reaching distance is the only way to stop someone.
Kerri Walsh, Beach Volleyball Player
When you are wearing a sports bra and tiny bikini bottoms, there isn’t much chance you won’t end up showing something to the crowd. One half of American beach volleyball team, Kerri Walsh ended up losing her bottoms after diving in the sand for a ball during a match. But let’s be honest, in those outfits, her butt is pretty much out most of the time anyway, so she probably didn’t even notice.
Venus Williams, Tennis Player
Pro tennis player, Venus Williams has experienced her share of wardrobe malfunctions on the court, and it’s no wonder considering the tiny skirts they wear. But she took it to the next level with her outfit at the French Open in 2010. She designs her own outfits, and has taken to wearing some that look more like lingerie than traditional tennis outfits. She has had a strap snap, exposing her breast, and shocked fans when her skirt flew up and it looked like she wasn’t wearing shorts underneath. She actually was wearing flesh toned shorts, but the visual suggested otherwise.
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