Seven sporting disasters
After Brazil’s calamitous World Cup ‘choke’, Jamie Farmer had a go at compiling a list of some other sporting disasters…
Jamie Farmer on Wednesday 30th July 2014

Unless you have been living in a cave you probably heard about that World Cup Semi-Final, you know the one – the most catastrophic World Cup defeat in the history of the competition. Brazil (5 times world champions) were trounced 7-1 in Belo Horizonte by a German team described by leading world experts (aka the BBC’s Match of the Day team) as “a ruthless well oiled machine”. Some described it as a “national humiliation”, others an “unfortunate game of football”. Within seconds of the game ending there were memes, tweets and posts mocking what had been a disaster for Brazilian football. Reports of Christ the Redeemer shaking his fists in rage were unconfirmed.

So that got Cherwell Sport to thinking; was this really the most embarrassing sporting defeat ever? Or have there been worse disasters? In our infinite wisdom, through meticulous research and debate, we have compiled a list of some of the most embarrassing sporting shocks.

1. Lindsey Jacobellis, Winter Olympics 2006.

The name may not be familiar. The incident probably is. Lindsey was cruising the final of the snowboard cross at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, with a 3 second, 47 meter lead over her opponent. The US competitor, in approaching the second jump decided to indulge in a bit of showboating. Attempting a celebratory “method grab” Lindsey managed to unbalance herself and fall, letting her opponent pass her, which meant she had to settle for a silver medal. Embarrassing? Yes. A national humiliation? You decide.

2. Rafael Nadal v Lukas Rosol/ Steve Darcis, Wimbledon 2012 & 2013

Tennis stars frequently lose. With 4 grand slams, a WTP championships and sometimes a bonus Olympic Games to play for, it is truly rare to find someone who wins everything each year. But nobody seems to know how to slip up quite as well as Rafael Nadal. In 2012, Nadal lost to someone who had not advanced beyond the first qualifying round of Wimbledon in 5 years. Lukas Rosol, ranked 100 in the world, dispatched the 14 time grand slam champion in a five set thriller. Reports that tendinitis had affected Nadal’s performance were unconfirmed (although the injury did make him pull out of the London Olympics later that summer). One year later he repeated the feat by losing in the 2013 version of Wimbledon to No 135 Steve Darcis, but this time in straight sets.

3. England v Australia, 2013-14 Ashes series

2013-14 was an odd time for English cricket. Managing to become the number one test team in the world in 2011 and having beaten Australia in the summer of 2013 3-0 at home, everyone was looking forward to another classic winter series. The Aussies had failed to win the ashes since 2007. What followed was not ideal. England lost the series 5-0, only the third Ashes clean sweep in history. The aftermath of the series saw a revamp of the England team – Swann retired, Pietersen was forced out- and now England have dropped to 5th in the world test rankings.

4. Garry Kasparov v Deep Blue, 1997

For those of you who are frightened of a post-apocalyptic society run by robots – this must have seemed like a bit of a watershed moment. Garry Kasparov was the world champion of chess, Deep Blue a supercomputer designed by boffins at IBM. A first game was played in Philedelphia in 1996 which Kasperov won 4-2. In a rematch the next year the computer won 3.5-2.5 although the game was tainted by Kasperov’s claim that the computer cheated. To the amazement of all Kasperov, considered the greatest chess player of all time, had lost to a machine.

Full list here:

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