5 Most Bizarre Moments in Australian Sports History
Throughout Australian sports history, athletes continue to impress and fill the hearts of sports enthusiasts with national pride. While Australian teams have earned many victories, and medals, there have also been several strange moments that seemed to come out of left field. Read on for our pick of some of the strangest moment in sport history.
- Blood and birds
The 1900 Olympic Games in Paris were full of spectacles, but possibly none as unsettling as the live pigeon shooting competition. In total, nearly 300 pigeons were shot during the game, leaving what many spectators recalled as a bloody mess. Australian contestant, Donald Mackintosh, finished the game in 3rd place, earning a bronze medal.
- Obstacles for the gold
Also in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics (it was a surprisingly weird time), a 200-metre obstacle swimming event was held—the only one of its kind to ever be featured in the Olympics. In this event, swimmers had to climb over a pole and a row of boats and then swim under a third obstacle. The gold medallist for the first and only ever 200-metre obstacle event was none other than the Australian athlete, Frederick Lane.
- Suspended for biting what?
Former National Rugby Player, Anthony Watts, was accused in 2013 of biting an opponent on the groin while playing in a local rugby league match for the Gold Coast based team the Tugun Seahawks. Though Watts was given an 8-week suspension, he denied the charges, calling the claim “laughable” and stating that he was wearing a mouth guard and therefore couldn’t have bitten his opponent. Regardless this incident gained national attention.
- What’s the mercy rule again?
This moment in Australian sports history wasn’t exactly weird, but it was definitely scandalising. In the qualifying match for the 2002 FIFA world cup between Australia and American Samoa, the Australian team beat the world record for the largest victory in an international football match. The final score of 31-0 averaged about one goal every three minutes. Australian player, Archie Thompson, also beat the world record for the most goals scored by a single player, scoring 13 times; and David Zdrilic earned the second place record with 8 goals.
This overwhelming victory caused much debate about the structure of qualification tournaments, leading to the introduction of preliminary rounds in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in order to prevent such unbalanced matches.
- “There’s a pig at full-forward!”
One of the most unforgettable and comical moments in VFL/AFL history was during the 18th round of the 1993 match between the Sydney Swans and St. Kilda. In efforts to throw St. Kilda’s star goal kicker, Tony Lockett, off his game, a crowd member released a pig onto the SCG. In black spray paint, the piglet sported Lockett’s “#4” and the world “Pluga”—a misspelling of Lockett’s nickname, “Plugger”. The piglet ran around the field evading captures for several minutes, causing sports commentator, Sandy Roberts, to exclaim “There’s a big at full-forward!” Eventually, the piglet was captured by a tackle from Sydney Swans player Darren Holmes, and the match resumed.
Tony Lockett, who did not attend the game due to an injury but was watching at home, expressed anger following the incident and vowed to seek vengeance against the Swans in the following year. In 1995 however, Lockett signed with the Sydney Swans, finishing out his remarkable career, earning the title of the highest goal scorer in VFL/AFL history. Recently, Lockett starred in a Toyota Memorable Moments advertisement which satirises at the pluga pig incident. Watch the original incident here:
There you have it, our top 5 weirdest moments in Aussie sports history—are there any other weird moments you can remember?