Funny / Olympic Games

Faster, higher, stronger...and funnier!

1896 Summer Games — Athens, Greece.

  • During a dinner honoring the winners, the Crown Prince of Greece asked Alfréd Hajós, who won two gold medals in swimming, where he had learned to swim so well. Hajós answered "In the water".
  • When Australian Edwin Flack won gold in the 1500 metres, since Australia was still a British colony at the time, there was no Australian flag, and officials didn't have any of the colonial flags. So, at the medal ceremony, they ended up raising the Austrian flag.

1904 Summer Games — St. Louis, U.S.A.

  • The Men's Marathon is a glorious hot mess courtesy of poor officiating and bad luck. One man got food poisoning and showed up late having to cut off the pants he was wearing into shorts, another nearly died, a couple of runners were chased by dogs, one man being disqualified for cheating, and the winner of this blessed event had to be helped to the finish line and was strung out on drugs and brandy.

1992 Winter Games — Albertville, France

  • In an Olympics where it seemed like hardly any figure skater could get through their routine without falling, this performance by France's Laetitia Hubert really takes the cake. But kudos to her for not giving up and finishing, though she looked positively exhausted by the end.
    • Commentator Scott Hamilton (the 1984 gold medalist in men's figure skating) later admitted that the reason he stopped talking about halfway through is because he was laughing so much.

1996 Summer Games — Atlanta, U.S.A.

  • The opening ceremonies had pickup trucks enter the stadium while people spelled out "How Y'all Doin?" Seriously.
  • One gymnast on the Chinese men's team in 1996 paused part way through his routine, to wave hi to the audience using his foot. Doubly funny given the reputation the Chinese have for being very straitlaced and serious.

2000 Summer Games — Sydney, Australia

  • Eric "The Eel" Moussambani.
  • The guy who ran amok on a ride-on lawnmower during the opening ceremony. Briefly a national hero! Followed by this were floats that had drag queens.
  • Arguably somewhere between funny and a Moment of Awesome, but during the introduction of the Tin Symphony we have what looks like a giant metal DRAGON entering the stadium.

2002 Winter Games — Salt Lake City, U.S.A.

  • In the 1000 m short track speed skating, a big crash led to all the athletes falling except for Steve Bradbury of Australia, who was too far behind everyone else. Because of this Bradbury, who was only in the finals because of another crash in the semis, wound up winning the gold! Bradbury has since become part of the Australian dictionary for "a fortuitous event".
  • During the prelude to the closing ceremony, there were two massive animatronic dinosaur skeletons peeked above the outside of the stadium into the arena as a nod to the large number of dinosaur fossils discovered in Utah.

2004 Summer Games — Athens, Greece

  • The United States Women's Soccer team commemorated its gold-medal win and the culmination of Mia Hamm's Olympic success by singing along to the Star-Spangled Banner at the ensuing medal ceremony, loudly and very much off-key.

2006 Winter Games — Turin, Italy

2008 Summer Games — Beijing, China

  • The Brazilian airing of the 2008 Olympics' opening ceremony was unintentionally hilarious, due to the added commentary by Oscar Schmidt, pretty much the best basketball player Brazil's ever had, who spent the ENTIRE CEREMONY complaining about how he regretted refusing to carry the Brazilian flag when he was offered (in 1996) because he needed to rest for the game the following day. The game that, as he constantly reminded viewers, nobody remembered whether or not they'd won. NOT EVEN HIM.
    • Galvão Bueno, narrator of that ceremony and most sports in that network, also makes most of his transmission unintentionally hilarious (and/or obnoxious) due to his tendency of obviousness ("went to the ground and fell!") and trying to show his smartness ("without omelette, nobody does eggs", "his disposition is very high, he looks like a caged lion").
  • At the closing ceremony — London's 8 minutes. Boris Johnson looking gormless while waving a flag, funny. That was just the start of eight minutes of simultaneous mass charm, hilarity, weirdness and cheese. Words can't describe it... Just watch it.
    • For that matter, David Beckham kicking off a football in said closing ceremony - and hitting a guy on the head.
    • Later that day, Mr. Johnson again, after stating that the British had invented the East Asian dominated spot of ping-pong with a game called "wiff-waff":
    Wiff-waff is coming home!
    • There was much speculation as to who the music performance would be by — The Doors, Queen, etc. On the big night, the commentary went like this:
    "Is that- Leona Lewis?
  • How did Togolese canoeist Benjamin Boukpeti celebrate winning his country's first ever medal? Simple - by triumphantly snapping his paddle in two.

2010 Winter Games — Vancouver, Canada

  • Anything that involved Stephen Colbert.
  • Canadian ice dancing gold medalists Virtue and Moir's funny showcase performance, which appeared to be a homage to teen movies (he was a(n ice) Sk8erBoi, she did ballet...)
  • The closing ceremony, where in addition to the usual impressive ceremony there was a menagerie of humorous Canadian stereotypes ranging from mounties, beavers, lumberjacks (wearing hastily-added gold medals!), and hockey players to oddly sexy woman dressed as giant maple leaves.
  • "Fixing" the last leg of the indoor cauldron for the closing ceremony and allowing Catriona Le May Doan, the last torch bearer, to light it.
  • A number of Canadian comedians expressing the country's appreciation towards their guests, including Michael J. Fox heartwarmingly declaring everybody as honorary Canadians - which he then claims means that Canada won every gold medal of the games.
  • William Shatner's speech — really, that entire closing ceremony was a cavalcade of hilarious self-parody.

2012 Summer Games — London, England

  • Most of Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, which was called "wacky", "off-the-wall", and "bonkers" in many quarters.
    • Rowan Atkinson's quasi-Mr. Bean segment. The Chariots of Fire theme starts with all the drama and seriousness one would expect from the situation... and then the camera pans over to him sitting at the keyboard, clearly bored that his part only involves hitting the same "pulse" note over and over. He manages to take out his phone to take a picture, sneeze and play the keyboard with an umbrella so he can get a tissue out of his backpack, and then falls asleep, dreaming himself into the movie's "running on the beach" opening sequence. After cheating to win the footrace (he takes a cab!), he wakes up to find the rest of the orchestra has finished the song, and everyone is staring at him. The conductor (highly respected conductor Sir Simon Rattle!) scrunches a hilariously displeased expression and signals for the final notes. So he does so, only to hit one messed-up note at the end.
    • The Queen parachuting out a helicopter with James Bond. And American viewers got the bonus of Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer apparently convinced it was real!
      • The Queen's corgis being filmed in the Shaky Cam method of the modern Bond films.
      • Daniel Craig looking absolutely bemused at the Churchill statue waving at him, especially the part where he follows the Queen after being escorted to her office.
    • There's something just so cracktactic about Mary Poppins (times 20) defeating a giant Voldemort... especially since if the music was any indication we were supposed to take it dead seriously. British humor is like that. They're sure, but you're never quite sure...
  • In the 2012 fencing event, one of the Italians complained his hits were not registering his Korean opponent and tested the connection with a self inflicted Ass Shove.
  • Upon winning the 2012 discus throw, Robert Harting from Germany cranks a Hulk Hogan before doing a victory lap by clearing the hurdles. It's just as hilarious as it sounds. He then went in to London to celebrate - and had to spend the night in a unnamed railway station after he had his accreditation nicked.
  • "Games Maker" Rachel Onasanwo decided to do her job entirely in Deadpan Snarker mode, becoming an internet and eventually TV star in the process.
  • The Chinese figured out if they lost their first badminton match, they would have easier competition and make sure only the Chinese teams would make it to the finals. The South Koreans figured this out, and decided to do the same, causing some hilariously bad matches. This was quickly found out — as it turns out, highly competitive athletes tend to be pretty bad at and obvious about trying to lose — and led to one Chinese team and two South Korean teams being disqualified, which gave everyone else some cause for Schadenfreude.
  • This commentary on a sailing race by someone who has no idea what's going on. He just makes sarcastic remarks about everything, until he realizes the race not ending, but starting.
  • Eric Idle performing "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" at the closing ceremony. In the middle of the performance, Bollywood dancers crash in and do a performance, all the while dousing Idle with colored dust. It has to be seen to be believed. Of course, the audience even joins in.
  • There is a Chilean Memetic Mutation about la princesa caballo (the horse princess), born from a sort-of prank by soccer fans. (Link's in Spanish). Well, when a local TV station was covering the equestrian events and Princess Anne's daughter Lady Zara Phillips showed up... guess what one of the commenters started shouting?
  • In the 10m Platform event in the Diving, Qiu Bo reacted to winning silver by wailing and banging his fist against a wall. Tom Daley's reaction to winning bronze? He - and his friends - jumped into the pool.
  • The Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony was carried out to a backing of iconic British music. What starts playing when Fiji comes out? Staying Alive... by The Bee Gees.

2014 Winter Games — Sochi, Russia

  • The men's hockey semi-final between the US and Canada inspired a billboard in Chicago (home of the Blackhawks, who had a player on both sides). It was a very simple bet - loser keeps Bieber.
    • Updated the next day after the US lost: an eagle wearing a gold chain saying "Belieber". The caption? "Worst bet ever"
  • A technical malfunction prevented the fifth Olympic ring from opening out of its snowflake during the opening ceremonies, as seen here. This was what the media chose to focus on, and it was all over twitter as #ringfail, badly frustrating the organizers who'd done so splendidly on everything else. (The rings' first appearance in the ceremony is an extremely important, glorious moment... just imagine if the forged rings at London hadn't worked out!) Since everyone else was making fun of them, the organizers figured they'd make fun of themselves as well; at the closing ceremonies, groups of ballerinas portrayed the snowflakes, and amid thunderous applause and laughter, the last snowflake finally deployed.
    • Furthermore, it's the image on the IOC website's 404 page.

2016 Summer Games — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil