Many of us look up to athletes as heroes. They do things that seem unimaginable. There's no doubt that these amazing individuals are capable of incredible feats of physical accomplishment. We idolize them and they inspire us to achieve even greater things. They push themselves harder than we thought possible. But there are moments when athletes are totally defeated. Part of the thrill of watching athletic events is the possibility that one of these great individuals might fail spectacularly. They might fall during a difficult stunt. They could injure themselves in a horrific way. They could make a stupid mistake that results in their loss. Or they could just be defeated by a superior opponent. These moments provide for great entertainment, as we all feel emotionally invested.
Whatever the case, a defeat is always hard to take. Many athletes take their careers so seriously that they are reduced to tears when they fail. For most, it is all they have ever worked towards. Some of them literally crumple in front of thousands of people. Their defeat turns them into sobbing, destroyed shadows of their former selves. And the images of athletes in these moments are actually quite interesting and sometimes uncomfortable to see. They show us the kind of raw emotion that we don't usually see in our day-to-day lives, and it can be fascinating. Sometimes, this sheer level of emotion makes crushing defeats some of the most captivating moments in sporting history.
16 Gymnast Took A Tumble
Nastia Luikin is one of the most talented gymnasts in the world, and she competes in the Olympics for team Russia. Her amazing talent in this competition is rivaled only by her physical beauty, which is quite famous. She has a very active Instagram account with tons of followers, and it's easy to see why. This blonde goddess has an amazing body, which is what you might expect from a gymnast. But she also has a stunning, pretty face, which is very alluring indeed. Whether she's posing in a bikini on Instagram or in her gymnastics leotard, you can bet she's going to turn some heads.
But gymnastics is one of the most dangerous sports, and even this seemingly perfect woman can fall during her routine. Even as she lays on the ground, utterly defeated, she still manages to look amazingly pretty. Unfortunately, the judges don't take that into consideration when giving scores.
15 Hurdling Gone Wrong
Track and field is another very popular sport in the Olympics, and the athletes in this competition are very talented. These lean and tight-bodied women have the ability to make our jaws drop as soon as they emerge into the arena. All of them have perfect bodies. Hurdles is a very interesting competition that always draws a large crowd, and it's also one event that takes a lot of skill. As you might expect, the fact that there are actually obstacles that the athletes must jump over make hurdles a common source of injury.
This was certainly the case when Deborah Jordan competed in the World Athletics Championships, and she didn't make it to the end of the race that day. Her left leg seemed to buckle under her, making her smash into the hurdle in front of her. She then lay there, motionless, and in extreme pain. It was a sight of utter defeat.
14 She Didn't Make The Jump
Here's another female athlete who is totally defeated. This picture captures the moment where she realizes that she has completely lost the race, and there's no coming back. Not only did she fall in the hurdles, but she also faceplanted in a pretty embarrassing way. A large crowd of people witnessed this moment, as well as millions of people watching via television. Can you imagine how this must have felt for her? She is completely and utterly defeated. But although her career has been dealt a major disappointment, she still finds it within herself to smile at her mistake. That's true courage.
The athlete pictured here is actually Elin Westerlund, a Swedish hurdler who specializes in the 100 meter hurdles event. Even though she usually does quite well, it was obvious after this race that even top athletes are capable of making simple mistakes.
13 Crushing Defeat
Laura Muir was a major competitor in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and everyone had high hopes for this record holding track and field star. But the Olympics ended in tears for this top athlete, and she ended her 1500 meter final race without a single medal to her name. She placed seventh, and the sheer disappointment caused her to fall to her knees in shame and frustration. She had let herself down, and she had let her country down. It's not a memory she would want to relive, and you can see by the picture that she's absolutely crushed by this defeat.
Speaking about the race, Muir revealed: "I went for the win, it's not every day you find yourself in an Olympic final. I was in great shape but the last 150m was not quite in me. I gave everything and I'm proud with how I ran.”
12 What Went Wrong?
This picture perfectly illustrates how it feels to fail at the highest stage. Olympic athletes train their whole lives to try and win the gold. They invest so much into their training and career that failure can make it seem like they wasted their whole lives for nothing. Many athletes are simply lost for words when they lose a race or fail to win a medal. All they can do is sink to their knees and try not to cry in front of the crowds.
When this happens, many athletes think to themselves, "What went wrong?" That's probably what Yuliya Gushchina was thinking to herself after a crushing defeat after a race. But that wouldn't be her only defeat – she would later be disqualified from the 2012 Olympics due to testing positive for doping.
11 Hope Solo Defeated
Hope Solo is one of the most famous female athletes in the world, and she's also somewhat of a controversial figure. She's held her place as goalkeeper on the US Women's Soccer team for many years. But while she's seen many victories over the years, she also experienced the crushing feeling of defeat. This picture was taken after she lost to Sweden in the 2016 Olympics, and she later called the Swedish team "a bunch of cowards."
Speaking about her antics, Solo revealed, "I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things. My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women’s game and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game."
10 Too Much Weight
Sometimes, athletes are guilty of taking on a challenge that they instantly regret. The phrase "biting off more than they can chew" rings true in these situations, and it's unfortunate to see female athletes attempting to do things that are clearly not possible for them. Weightlifting is a male-dominated sport, but the female competition at the Olympics is always interesting to watch. Of course, it's also one of the most brutal and tough sports to compete in, as the stakes are very high. Make one mistake and you'll go crashing to the ground with a heavy weight smashing you down into the floor.
That's exactly what happened to Yusleidy Mariana Figueroa Roldan of Venezuela. She tried to lift more than she could handle, and her whole body simply buckled at the key moment. Her strong form crumpled beneath the heavy weight, and her arms were stretched back behind her at a devastating angle. It was truly a moment of complete defeat.
9 In Denial
We've all experienced denial before. Mostly, denial happens when things just don't go our way. We rack our minds for a way to get out of our terrible situations, and in doing so we try to convince ourselves that terrible things didn't actually happen. That was going through the minds of these US soccer players after a devastating loss. One woman is actually crawling around on the pitch, crying her eyes out after suffering a tough loss. You can almost hear her sobbing, screaming, "No!"
At this moment in the game, Mallory Pugh had just suffered an intense injury during a game against Sweden. It was late in the game, and victory for Sweden already seemed likely. This player was supposed to be a teenage sensation that would win the Olympic gold medal for the USA. Instead, she had to crawl off the field after suffering an injury.
8 Figure Skater Faceplants
One of the most interesting sports in the world is definitely figure skating. There is just so much skill involved, and one small mistake can send you hurtling to the ground. Figure skaters must be incredibly precise, even when they are spinning through the air and performing multiple flips and tricks. Unfortunately, the tricks are often so hard that the chances of slipping and falling are very high. Olympic figure skaters push themselves incredibly hard, and falling is just part and parcel of the competition.
This picture is of Kaetlyn Osmond as she slipped and fell during a competition. You can see the expression pure frustration and disappointment as her body collides with the ground at high speed. Right away, she realizes that her dreams of getting a good score in this particular competition are pretty much gone.
7 Gymnastics Injury
Gymnastics is a lot like figure skating, in that the women who compete in this sport are often incredibly agile and strong, capable of performing graceful acts and mind-blowing tricks and flips that many would find impossible. A gymnast must perform her routine perfectly. A simple mistake will undoubtedly result in a fall, as it only takes a brief lapse in concentration to throw them off balance. And if they're unfortunate enough, the fall might even result in a painful injury.
That was the case with this particular gymnast, who found herself down and out after a nasty fall. Not only that, but she also suffered an injury that looks incredibly painful. You can see her eyes shut in a grimace of pain, and her legs look as if they've suffered a major injury. Physical pain and frustration come together, as she also failed to perform her routine.
6 Caroline Wozniacki - Game Over
Another sport where women are very injury prone is tennis. This sport is extremely competitive, and things can get very heated in these matches. Women throw themselves through the air in order to reach the ball sometimes, and this can lead to some serious injuries. Caroline Wozniacki is one of the most well-known tennis stars today, and she's got tons of fans both in the stands and in social media. This Danish athlete is undeniably beautiful, but unlike some of the other hot tennis stars out there, this girl actually has some serious talent.
But even the most talented tennis stars can't avoid getting injured from time to time. It's always a hugely disappointing moment when tennis stars can't continue with the match because of injuries they've sustained. You can see by the look on her Caroline's face that she's in serious pain, and the defeat must sting all the more because of this.
5 Maria Sharapova Injured
Maria Sharapova is another huge name in the tennis world, and she's a real veteran. Although she's not as high up the rankings as she once was, she can give even the most talented players a serious run for their money. This is another star who's well-known for both her looks and her playing skill. She's something of a legend in the tennis world, and she's posed for many magazines such as Sports Illustrated, and many more. Many tennis players today have developed intense rivalries with her.
But in this picture, we see the titan that is Maria Sharapova brought to her knees. After a fall, she is left splayed out on the court for everyone to see. It's an embarrassing moment, but as you can see by the scoreline, she's actually winning. Still, losing a point in this way must have been a memory that she doesn't want to relive.
4 That's Gotta Hurt
Once again, we return to the hurdles, where it seems injuries are extremely common. There's something about running and jumping at high speeds that just creates a recipe for disaster, injuries, and a lot of pain. And pain is what is written quite clearly all over this woman's face after she took a tumble doing hurdles. She is clearly injured, and it looks like her hand is seriously hurt. The pain of physical pain is matched by the emotional pain of losing. It doesn't look like she'll be racing again any time soon.
Athletes might have amazing and muscular bodies, but people often forget that they're actually very delicate and prone to injury. When you work your body to its limit, and push your muscles, ligaments, and joints to their breaking point, you're bound to run the risk of injury. This is even more so when you're jumping over hurdles going at full speed.
3 Track And Failed
Sofia Ennaoui is another track and field athlete that people know and love. She's a Polish athlete who specializes in slightly more long-distance events. She's won a number of medals and has performed for her country quite admirably, but even she is capable of some pretty huge fails from time to time. This picture captures the moment when she inexplicably stumbles at a critical moment. Why did she fall? That's not really clear. No one collided with her or cut her off. She's in her own lane. I guess you just have to chalk it down to bad luck.
This moment must have been one of Sofia's worst memories in her career. Thousands of people watched this mistake, and she threw the entire race away because she couldn't stop herself from stumbling. There must be a lot of pressure when you're competing at such a high level, and it seems that the pressure was too much for her.
2 Head Over Heels
We've seen a few ice skaters so far, but this one just might be the most heartbreaking image yet. The picture captures the moment when this figure skater's dreams and hopes come crashing down. Her goal of getting a good score on this routine fade away as she collides forcefully with the ice below. You can really see the expression of pure frustration and dismay as she slips on the ice. Mixed with the physical pain is the realization that she has failed at the biggest stage – the winter Olympics.
The ice skater pictured here is none other than Jenna McCorkell, who is actually one of the most successful figure skaters in modern history. She's British, and is an eleven time national champion. She's also won many Olympic medals in her time, including gold. But as this picture proves, even she is capable of making mistakes.
1 Slipping On The Ice
Isabelle Olsson is another ice skater you might know, although she's not as famous as some of the other more well-known ones. She's Swedish, and is known for her incredible beauty as well as her skill. She's experienced a few twists and turns in her career, but this is one moment that she'll probably want to forget. This image captures the precise second when she realizes her score for this routine is going to be very low indeed. A simple mistake is all it takes for even the most skilled skaters to lose their grip on the ice.
We can only imagine how painful the next few seconds must have been for Isabelle. The ice is extremely hard, and her rear is about to collide with its surface with a hard impact. We know that ice skating can be a beautiful sport, but it's also clear that it comes with some serious risks. Ice skaters are actually much more brave than many of us would think.