With the type of outfits that many athletes wear, it’s almost surprising that more wardrobe malfunctions don’t happen on a regular basis. Sure, some athletes wear a relatively basic jersey and shorts, or jersey and pants. However, other athletes wear skin-tight spandex outfits or second skin bathing suits that always look like they’re about a second from splitting (and as you see on this list, sometimes that does, in fact, occur).
Wardrobe malfunctions can also occur because athletes are also very focused when they’re in the midst of a game. Their mind is on getting the next goal, the next point, perfecting that move that they’ve been working on. With a mind so focused on something, some athletes won’t even notice that a malfunction has happened.
Finally, sports can get pretty rough at times, and sometimes a malfunction happens courtesy of the other team not willing to give up a point.
Any sport you name, you can find several memorable wardrobe malfunctions, whether they involve an athlete exposing a little more than they had wanted to, whether their name is misspelled, or more.
Here are 10 wardrobe malfunctions that athletes have, unfortunately, gotten captured by those pesky photographers and press there at every single game.
10 Wayne Gretzky
Whether you’re a die-hard hockey fan or a casual observer, everyone knows who “The Great One” is. Wayne Gretzky is practically synonymous with hockey, and the young boy from Ontario has turned himself into a household name thanks to his insane skills on the ice. However, in a 1997 game against the New York Islanders, fans watching may have been wondering who on earth this new guy ‘Gretkzy’ was. That’s right – they misspelled the Great One’s name on his Rangers jersey. If it had happened to a rookie, most people likely wouldn’t have even noticed, and the situation could have been rectified with no one any the wiser. It happened to Gretzky, though – and everyone definitely noticed.
9 Devin Hester
During an NFL game, seeing a giant pile-up of players is a fairly frequent occurrence. Their job is to tackle or stop the other team in whatever way they’re able to. Sometimes, whether purposefully or merely because they’re putting in so much effort and just can’t stop themselves in time, things get a little bit crazy. Take Devin Hester’s wardrobe malfunction – in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Hester caught the ball and started hustling to gain a few yards for his team. The Eagles corner-back, desperate to stop him, grabbed Hester by the back of his pants – and yanked them right down.
8 Jenifer Benitez
Being an athlete in the Olympic games is an extremely exciting experience, but it’s also likely extremely nerve-wracking. After all, athletes who make it to the Olympics have spent years training and they know the entire world is watching how they perform. That amount of pressure and scrutiny causes some to flop, and others to merely lose their focus for a moment. Spanish diver Jenifer Benitez was focused on executing the perfect dive at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and while her mind was focused on her dive and resulting score, she paused to adjust her swimsuit a little bit. Unfortunately, Benitez forgot about the cameras that were all focused on her, and they caught a little bit more than she would have likely cared to reveal.
7 Gillian Cooke
Everyone knows what bobsled uniforms look like – they’re so tight, it’s as if the athletes have been poured into them. While they definitely have to be made of sturdy material in order to withstand the action on the sled, many wonder how on earth they don’t split during all that activity. Well, sports viewers didn’t have to wonder much longer at the 2010 World Championships in Switzerland. British bobsledder Gillian Cooke was at the start of the course with her partner, getting ready for what would hopefully be a good run. She bent over, and her suit split, giving the audience a good view of her backside. Cooke was so focused on the task at hand that she seemingly didn’t even realize what had occurred – and she managed to pull out a seventh place finish for her country.
6 Nick Helenius
Striker Nick Helenius will likely always remember the embarrassing wardrobe malfunction that happened in a 2013 match – and likely always be a little angry with a certain player. Helenius’ team, Aston Villa, were playing a game against Tottenham. Helenius had the ball and made a break for Tottenham’s net. As he was entering the penalty area, Tottenham player Jan Vertonghen decided that he wasn’t giving up any goals, and that he would be stopping Helenius at any cost. Vertonghen reached out, and as Helenius started to take his shot, yanked down his shorts. After the incident, both Helenius and coaching staff on the sidelines were obviously furious at what had occurred.
5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Most people probably don’t really consider snooker a sport – it’s not something that you have to train for physically at quite the same level as some other professional sports. Of course you need a great deal of skill with the cue, but you don’t necessarily need six pack abs and the ability to bench press three times your body weight. However, even snooker players have wardrobe malfunctions. Player Ronnie O’Sullivan evidently chose the wrong shoes to wear to a tournament, and his feet were in such pain that he ended up taking them off – a violation of snooker’s dress code. That’s right – they might not be clad in the exact same jerseys with their name on the back, but snooker players still have a dress code. O’Sullivan ended up finishing the game wearing tournament director Mike Ganley’s shoes.
4 Donyell Marshall
Donyell Marshall is an NBA player who bounced around between teams during his career, but he had one particularly memorable wardrobe malfunction when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Marshall was on the bench, keeping his muscles warm with his warm up jacket on while he watched his team mates on the court. When it came time for him to get in on the action, he whipped his jacket off – and the jersey went with it. Marshall, oblivious to his mistake, made his way onto the court. His jersey eventually got handed to him and he pulled it on, but not before everyone on the Cavaliers bench cracked up.
3 Kerri Walsh Jennings
One of the reasons beach volleyball is a popular sport for viewers is, quite simply, the uniforms – which amount to little more than teeny bikinis. They make sense in the context – they’re playing a beach sport – but they don’t cover much, and players are literally almost always an inch or two away from a wardrobe malfunction. American player Kerrie Walsh Jennings dove for a ball and, while she was skidding across the sand, her bottoms got pulled down, exposing part of her backside to the audience. Let’s be honest – it’s a wonder that type of wardrobe malfunction doesn’t occur at some point during every game, when the athletes are sweating in tiny uniforms while constantly stretching, falling and setting.
2 Olga Graf
Speedskater Olga Graf’s wardrobe malfunction wasn’t a case of a uniform suddenly giving up and splitting – it was Graf being distracted and realizing just before something disastrous occurred. Speed skaters have a skin tight uniform with a long zipper all the way down the front. After she had snagged a bronze medal on home turf at the Sochi Olympics, the Russian athlete unzipped her uniform as she waved to her fans. A seemingly innocent gesture – after all, she was probably sweaty from all that exertion. Problem was, Graf forgot that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath her uniform that day. She quickly realized her mistake and zipped herself back up before she ended up exposing more than she had bargained for.
1 Junior Lake
For someone who doesn’t know anything about sports, the home jersey and away jersey situation can be fairly confusing. Why are they different? How do you remember which team is which color if they change? Well, it seems that baseball player Junior Lake might sympathize with those confused by switching jerseys. In a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, outfielder Lake trotted onto the field in his grey Chicago Cubs jersey. Problem was, he stood out like a sore thumb, because every other guy on the team was wearing the road jersey with “Cubs” written on it while Lake had donned his jersey with “Chicago” on it. After the first inning wrapped up, Lake quickly went into the clubhouse to change. Who knows – maybe he was too distracted before the game and didn’t take the time to look around and see what everyone else was wearing.