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
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
- The opening ceremony had cylists before every delegation. A few were hilariously chill about it.
- Hope Solo posted some◊ Comical Overreacting about mosquito disease. In response, the Brazilians not only jeered her (as expected for the U.S. team) but made sure every free kick of hers had a chant of "ZIKA!".
- In the basketball match between the USA and China, the Dream Team decides on who will execute free shoots... via a game of rock-paper-scissors.
- ESPN Brazil chose resident Large Ham Romulo Mendonça to broadcast volleyball. Hilarity ensued.
- Michael Phelps' Game Face◊
- Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui twice had the third best time in the 100m backstroke, in the semifinals and the finals... only knowing it when a reporter told her so as she is short-sighted and unable to read the scoreboard from the pool. She also gives Adorkable post-swim interviews and makes funny faces at her podium ceremonies.
- The members of Team Fiji's men's rugby sevens team are very tall, and they're on the top podium. So what do they do? They get on their knees to get the medals put on their necks (by Princess Anne, no less!).
- During the men's 200m butterfly final, Canadian commentator Elliotte Friedman got Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte's lanes mixed up and consequently narrated the entire final as if Lochte was having the swim of his life. Whoops!
- Everywhere it was noted how the Brazilian crowd was rousy, cheering loudly in every sport like it was a football game - specially when their own were competing - and eventually finding some underdogs to support. One particularly funny example involves Ecuatorian boxer Carlos Mina, whose surname led to an old hit becoming a Crowd Song (and probably helping Mina win two fights).
- Also in boxing, when the referee was Brazilian, he would be cheered instead of the fighters.
- For some reason, fencing loves using The Imperial March to bring the fencers in. And volleyball used the song to score challenges against referee decisions.
- After Joseph Schooling won the 100m men's butterfly, many more people around the world (this not being an entirely new joke for Singaporeans) started punning on his surname with statements like "Michael Phelps got schooled". Singapore's Ministry of Education also jumped on the pun bandwagon when responding to Singaporeans asking for a public holiday to celebrate the country's first-ever gold medal (not that there would have been a holiday anyway if Joseph had a different surname or if the first gold medallist was someone else).
- Usain Bolt finds time to smile to the camera◊ in the middle of his 100m semifinal race. And to prank a reporter after winning the 200m.
- Andy Murray, after winning gold, accidentally breaks his Rio ornament during the medal ceremony and tries to hide the evidence behind his back.
- Similarly, one of the presenters at the gold medal ceremony for men's basketball dropped and broke one of the trophies, to hilarious reaction from the players. Carmelo Anthony ended up the man without.
- After winning the gold medal match for in Women's Freestyle 63k in wrestling, Risako Kawai flips her coach onto the mat twice, then carries him on her shoulders in a lap around the ring.
- Brazil-Australia was a tense football game only decided in the shootouts. Just see what it did to Aussie captain Lisa De Vanna.
- Japanese supporters making their flag out of a department store bag.◊
- Mongolian wrestler Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran losing out on the bronze medal because of an early celebration causing him to get penalized for evading the grapple was not very funny. His coaches reacting to the judges' denial of their protests by flying into a rage and stripping off their clothes, in one case all the way down to the skivvies, on the other hand? HILARIOUS.
- Spanish weight-lifter Lidia Valentín won the bronze medal in the 75kg category... and did this◊.
- At one point, Brazil was 13th on the medal table, with 6 golds, 6 silvers and 6 bronzes.
- Tokyo's promotional video for the 2020 Olympics at the Closing Ceremonies had a skit where Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is stuck in traffic, and realizes he won't be able to get to Rio in time. So he turns himself into Mario (complete with accurate sound effects) and gets assisted by Doraemon who builds, in the middle of the world-famous Shibuya Crossing, a Warp Pipe with a drilling component similar to the Spin Drill to burrow through the earth's core so he can get to Maracanã Stadiumnote . Then Prime Minister Abe makes his entrance through the Warp Pipe exit installed in the middle of the stadium, still wearing Mario's hat (and clothes). The video also includes appearances form Captain Tsubasa, Pac-Man (both his original and Pac-Man World appearances), and Hello Kitty.
- Nintendo later admitted they chose Mario to use over any other franchise partly because he's still the most recognizable face of Nintendo, and partly because they couldn't resist the 'MaRIO' pun.
- The tweets that resulted from Team GB athletes being given identical red bags and having difficulty finding their own bag after touching down at Heathrow.