The unopened ring and the stolen flag: the main curiosities of the Olympic Games

Dismissal because of a cruel joke 23 years ago

The moderator of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, Kentaro Kobayashi, was suspended from work over a joke about the Holocaust more than 20 years ago. 

This information was confirmed by the head of the organizing committee of the Games Seiko Hashimoto.

In 1998, Kobayashi, performing in one of the comedy duets, scattered paper men on the stage, offering to “play the Holocaust.”

Kobayashi has been criticized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center . The organization is engaged in combating manifestations of anti-Semitism.

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“Any person, no matter how creative he is, has no right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide. Any connection of this man with the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and would be a mockery of the prestigious tournament, ”the center said in a statement.

Sochi 2014 and the unopened ring

The first Winter Olympic Games in the history of Russia took place seven years ago in Sochi. 

Then the country was in euphoria from a grandiose sports event and admired the performances of Russian athletes, not yet suspecting that a few years later the doping scandal would cross out most of the positive emotions from the Games and lower the national team from the first place in the unofficial medal standings.

The opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics to this day remains one of the most technologically advanced and innovative in history, however, a funny curiosity happened in it. One of the five snowflakes, which was supposed to turn into an Olympic ring, did not open.

At that moment, the broadcast on the territory of Russia was interrupted, after which the recording from the dress rehearsal was turned on, where all the rings were opened, while in the rest of the world the audience watched the embarrassment that happened.

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Creative producer and scriptwriter of the ceremony Konstantin Ernst appeared at a press conference on the last day of the Games, wearing a T-shirt with an unopened ring, thereby showing serious self-irony.

Ernst later stated that the rings were the simplest mechanical design and were perfect, and therefore never had a problem.

As it turned out during the investigation, the ring was damaged by high-rise workers from Ireland, who were engaged in fastening structures.

They dropped the unopened ring, however, due to the lack of visible damage, they did not report the incident to anyone.

Stolen flag

During a gala dinner by the US Olympic Committee on the eve of the closure of the 1920 Games in Antwerp, one of the event attendees stole the Olympic flag. 

The find came to light 77 years later, when a journalist interviewed Haig Priest, the prize-winner of those Games in diving.

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The athlete admitted that he stole the flag for a bet – he was encouraged by the swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, who won two gold medals at that Olympics. Priest climbed up the flagpole and took the banner for himself. The police could not find the thief, and therefore the solemn transfer of the flag to the organizers of the next 1924 Olympics in Paris did not happen.

As a result, Priest returned the historical banner to the IOC only at the age of 103. This happened at the organization’s congress in Sydney ahead of the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Discarding pigeons in the bowl

At the opening ceremony of the 1988 Games in Seoul, white doves were launched for the last time. A long-standing Olympic tradition was interrupted by an incident during the lighting of the Olympic flame.

Many birds, which were collected with great difficulty by the representatives of the organizing committee for the ceremonial launch into the air, chose the Olympic bowl.

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When the moment came to light the fire of the Games, some pigeons instantly became victims of the flame, not having time to leave the pedestal.

After that incident, it was decided to refuse the participation of pigeons in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

Incomplete bonfire

The 2010 Olympics took place in Vancouver, Canada, and the grand opening for the first time in the history of the Games took place at an indoor stadium. 

Everything went smoothly until the most important moment of the ceremony came – the lighting of the Olympic flame.

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At the right moment, constructions emerged from the ground and formed into a bonfire. True, only three columns out of four were able to rise. 

Steve Nash, Wayne Gretzky and Nancy Greene successfully coped with the task of lighting their column, but Catherine LeMay-Doane, who was nearby, remained standing with the Olympic torch.

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Author: Emma Klarsten

Olympic games are my true passion, in this blog I share Olympics secrets from Ancient Greek Olympics till nowadays.