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Greatest Olympic Tantrums: Epic Strops That Are Way Outside The Spirit Of The Games

Sometimes it all just gets a bit much.

05/08/2016 11:25 | Updated 05 August 2016

Athletes dedicate so much time and energy to training for the Olympics, so it’s hardly surprising that tensions are often running high.

While for the most part the majority of participants are able to control their emotions, there are times when irritation and disappointment get the better of even the greatest athletes. 

This can manifest itself through tears, tantrums and occasionally even violence.

We’ve rounded up the 10 best Olympic and Paralympic strops...

1. Angel Matos Left Kicking Himself... And The Referee 

The Cuban lost his temper after being disqualified during the bronze medal match in the Beijing 2008 taekwondo contest.

Matos argued with referee Chakir Chelbat over the decision before aiming a kick directly at his head.

He was slapped with a lifetime ban from the World Taekwondo Federation as a result.

2. Ara Abrahamian’s Poor Podium Performance

The wrestler was so disgusted at only winning a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 games that he threw an almighty strop on the podium.

The Swede, who won silver at Athens in 2004, tore off his medal, threw it to the ground and flounced off.

Ahead of the medal ceremony, he had already been restrained by his team-mates during a row with judges and lashed out at a barricade on his way out of the arena.

He was later disqualified by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), which said he was undeserving of the honour.

3. Jody Cundy’s ‘Ruining My Life’ Rant

In his own words, the team GB Paralympian “lost it” when he realised that he had lost the opportunity of a lifetime at the London 2012 games.

The cyclist had believed that the starting gate had not opened properly and asked for a restart, but judges called it as a rider error and his request was denied.

He later apologised for his behaviour, which included going on an expletive-laden tirade, throwing a drinks bottle and having to be restrained by a team member.

4. It All Gets A Bit Much For Shin Lam 

Poor Lam endured a rollercoaster of emotions during her match with Germany’s Britta Heidemann.

For a moment, the South Korean fencer believed that she was through to the final at the London 2012 games - but it was not to be.

Officials took more than an hour to finally confirm that Heinemann had in fact won, an hour which Lam spent sitting and sobbing. 

ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
Shin Lam cries as the dispute continues over her match against Britta Heidemann
ALBERTO PIZZOLI via Getty Images
An emotional Lam sat on the piste for more than an hour

5. McKayla Maroney Is Deeply Unimpressed 

When the US gymnast just missed out on gold after taking a tumble in the women’s vault final at the London 2012 games, she didn’t exactly manage to hide her feelings.

Despite still earning herself a silver medal, Maroney looked less than thrilled as she stood on the podium next to Romanian gold medallist Sandra Izbasa and Russia’s Maria Paseka, who won bronze.

The image of her frown became the subject of a barrage of memes.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
McKayla Maroney didn’t quite manage to keep her disappointment to herself on the podium
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Maroney reacts as gold medallist Sandra Izbasa celebrates her gold

6. The ‘Blood In The Water’ Match

This really qualifies as more of a riot than a strop.

Tensions were unsurprisingly rather high between the Hungarian and Soviet water polo teams at the Melbourne 1956 Olympics, given the games were taking place against the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution.

The Hungarians did their best to taunt the Soviets during the match (which has since been branded the Blood In The Water match) and kicks and punches were aimed at both sides.

A number of spectators also became involved in the fracas, which culminated in police intervention.

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Injured Hungarian water polo player Ervin Zador 

7. Brigitte Foster-Hylton’s Frustration Get The Better Of Her 

The Jamaican hurdler started the 100m heat on excellent form but things went dramatically wrong when she clipped a barrier.

She was unable to recover quickly enough to qualify for the semi-final and upon finishing the race, she screamed and threw herself to the ground in frustration.

8. Russia’s Silver Medallists Struggle With Coming Second

While a silver medal at the Olympics or Paralympics is an incredible achievement for some athletes, missing out on gold is still pretty disappointing.

But none seem to feel it quite like the Russians when they’re on the podium.

The following is a selection just from the London 2012 games... 

Mike Hewitt via Getty Images
Second Best: Wrestler Rustam Totrov
Scott Heavey via Getty Images
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Not first: Gymnast Victoria Komova
EMMANUEL DUNAND via Getty Images
1+1=2:Judoka Alexander Mikhaylin (next to France’s Teddy Riner)

9. The Wrong Sort Of Punches Thrown

During the bantamweight battle between Bulgaria’s Alexander Hristov and South Korea’s Byun Jong-il at the Seoul 1988 games, things all got rather heated.

Byun was docked points for using his head as a battering ram and ultimately lost the fight, causing a number of South Korean officials to storm the ring.

Reuters reported that punches and kicks were aimed by security staff and officials at New Zealand referee Keith Walker, who had to be escorted out by fellow referees.

An assistant coach, the trainer, a boxing official and two Olympic helpers were all suspended over the incident, according to the LA Times.

10. Ashley Wagner’s Distinct Lack Of Poker Face

The US figure skater was all smiles after finishing her routine at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

But her happiness quickly turned to disgust when she saw the score awarded to her team and she could be seen to mouth a rather rude word.

Like McKayla Maroney’s frown, Wagner’s outrage also made her the star of many a meme.

 
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