23 Shocking Olympics Moments You Probably Missed From the Tokyo 2020 Games

The Olympics represents the pinnacle of sporting competition featuring thousands of athletes participating in a wide variety of events while millions around the world watch on, entranced.

At its best, the Games provide drama and excitement of the highest order, creating iconic moments, Olympic legends and overnight stars in the space of just a few short weeks.

But even at its worst, the Olympics offer up a unique perspective on the human condition. Because in the Games, as in life, things can often go wrong. Very wrong.

And in an age of smartphones and social media, that usually equates to some moments being remembered and revisited for all the wrong reasons.

Even so, with so much of the focus placed on the U.S. team's impressive efforts in Tokyo, some of the lesser known viral stories to emerge from these Games may have been lost in the shuffle along the way.

With that in mind, here are 23 of the most shocking Olympics moments you probably missed from Tokyo 2020.

23 Shocking Olympics Moments You Probably Missed From Tokyo 2020

1. Nurislam Sanayev bites off more than he can chew

Nurislam Sanayev bites India's Kumar Ravi.
Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev (red) bites India's Kumar Ravi on the men's freestyle 57kg wrestling semi-final. Jack Guez/Getty

The semi-final of the 57kg men's freestyle wrestling took a turn for the bizarre when Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev sank his teeth into the bicep of Ravi Kumar Dahiya.

Sanayev's Mike Tyson moment was one born out of frustration after he had squandered a 9-2 lead against his Indian opponent. The Kazakhstani only needed one more point to gain a place in the Gold medal match but Dahiya came roaring back, winning eight points in a row with Sanayev's bite coming as his opponent secured the decisive pin to win the contest.

2. Choppy waters in the men's triathlon

Triathletes dive into the water.
Triathletes dive into the water as a broadcast boat prevents all swimmers from starting forcing a restart before the Men's Individual Triathlon. Adam Pretty/Getty

A blunder camera boat caused chaos at the start of the Olympic men's triathlon and could have led to far worse were it not for the agility and quick thinking of the athletes on show.

The problems began just after the buzzer went off to signal the start of the swimming leg of the event. It quickly became apparent that a camera boat adjusting its position had inadvertently blocked off the start of the race for half the competitors in Tokyo Bay - and they were the lucky ones.

As the boat attempted to reverse its way out of trouble, several competitors suddenly found themselves perilously close to the vessel's churning outboard motor. Fortunately, no Olympians were harmed and the race resumed soon after.

3. Dane-gerous cycling in the velodrome

Well, that was... eventful!

Denmark advance to the gold medal final in the men's team pursuit.

We're incredibly proud of our team and their performance over the competition 🇬🇧👏@ethan_hayter @EthanVernon22 @olliewood95 @CharlieTanfield @Ed_Clancy #Tokyo2020#TeamGB pic.twitter.com/OUW4fe0gbe

— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) August 3, 2021

Denmark's Frederick Madsen lived up to his last name after launching into an expletive-laden rant at Great Britain's Charlie Tanfield after the two cyclists collided during the final lap of the men's team pursuit.

What made it worse was that the crash was largely down to Madsen, who had been looking down at the black tape on the track, rather than what was in front of him and failed to spot that Tanfield had dropped off from the rest of the British riders.

Madsen cut a frustrated figure in the aftermath, with pictures showing him standing over Tanfield, verbally berating his opponent, before storming away from track at the Izu velodrome.

4. German judo star shaken but not stirred

Some fans expressed concern for Germany judo star Martyna Trajdos after she was filmed being shaken and slapped by her coach ahead of one match.

Claudiu Pusa was seen violently shaking the 32-year-old before slapping her twice across either side of her face. Trajdos appeared unmoved, however, and it later emerged that the apparent attack was simply a pre-match ritual.

The German failed to reach the podium in Tokyo, later joking on Instagram that his slaps were obviously "not hard enough."

"That's the ritual which I chose pre-competition," she said. "My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up."

5. Argentina hockey star hits something other than the ball

Argentina vs Spain in the Olympic hockey.
Pedro Ibarra of Argentina battles Alvaro Iglesias Marcos of Spain at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Alexander Hassenstein//Getty

A men's field hockey match between Argentina and Spain threatened to spill over into all-out violence when one player jabbed an injured opponent in the head with his stick, sparking off a major fracas between the two teams.

The trouble began when Spain's David Alegre collapsed to the floor with cramp. Convinced he was feigning injury to waste time, Argentine opponent Lucas Rossi rushed out and proceeded to hit Alegre in the head in what was an entirely unprovoked attack.

That sparked a major melee with several Spanish players stepping in to restrain Rossi who was seen, at one point, being pushed away by the throat. He was later handed a one-game ban for the outburst.

6. Dutch BMX star's warm-up hits a snag...and an Olympic official

So this is what happened today. 💣 Hit an official that wanted to cross the 2nd straight. Hope the official is O.K. My knee is sore, but will do my best to be ready for Thursday! Thanks everyone for the messages, appreciate it! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/QOdJ2r0usT

— Niek Kimmann (@niekkimmann) July 26, 2021

Dutch BMX rider Niek Kimmann's preparations suffered a setback after he was involved in a shocking collision with an Olympic official during a practice run.

The 25-year-old was powerless to prevent his bike from colliding with the unidentified man, who inexplicably ended up in the middle of the track during a busy training session involving multiple riders.

Travelling at high speed, Kimmann crashed directly into the official, who was attempting to cross the track at the time. The Dutch rider was thankfully unscathed from the collision save for a sore knee.

7. Thomas Van der Plaetsen's long jump from hell

WORST LONG JUMP EVER!!! 😮 #Olympics pic.twitter.com/nKQS6xLGAq

— Greg Mercer (@mercerboy) August 4, 2021

Belgium's Thomas Van der Plaetsen went into the decathlon with genuine hopes for a medal but departed having failed to complete the event after suffering a serious knee injury in the run-up for his long jump attempt.

The resulting effort proved was widely shared on social media with Van der Plaetsen catapulted through the air only to land on his side, face first in the sand. It proved to be the Belgian's last contribution to the Games with the 30-year-old exiting the event in a wheelchair having badly hyperextended his right knee.

8. Australian skateboard Kieran Woolley takes out a cameraman

Kieran Woolley crashes into a cameraman.
Kieran Woolley of Team Australia crashes into a TV Cameraman during the Men's Skateboarding Park Preliminary Heat 3 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Jamie Squire/Getty

At least one cameraman was quite literally bowled over by the performance of skateboarder Kieran Woolley at the Games after being knocked to the floor during the Australian's impressive first run.

Eager to get close to the action, the camera operator was filming close to Woolley just as he performed a final rail grind. While he pulled the trick off with few problems, the 17-year-old ended up losing his balance and colliding with the cameraman who was knocked to the floor.

Fortunately, he was soon back on his feet, dusting himself off before giving a thumbs up to the young Olympian to assure him he was alright.

9. BBC presenter draws child giggles during discussion about 'third leg'

ICYMI - Clare Balding quizzing swimmers about their third leg pic.twitter.com/BQAgfZgIrL

— Ollie Samuels (@OllieSamuels) July 29, 2021

BBC Olympics presenter Clare Balding had viewers and OIympians alike laughing after an accidental bit of innuendo during an interview with British Olympic gold medal winning swimmers Tom Dean and Matt Richards.

Balding ended up trending on Twitter after she was heard to innocently remark to the pair: "Your third leg was just phenomenal." The comment drew smirks from Dean and Richards, while the presenter remained oblivious to it all. That's likely to have changed since.

10. Australian cyclist's handlebars inexplicably snap off bike

Australia's Alexander Porter crashes at the Olympics.
Australia's Alexander Porter reacts after crashing during the Olympic men's track cycling team pursuit at Izu Velodrome in Izu, Japan. Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Alexander Porter suffered a painful fall in the velodrome in bizarre circumstances. The Australian cyclist was travelling at high speed in the men's team pursuit when, out of nowhere, the handlebars of his bike snapped off.

Despite taking a tumble seconds later, Porter escaped the incident without serious injury while because the crash occurred during the qualifying round, the Australians were able to call for a restart.

11. Israel baseball team deliberately break 'anti-sex' beds

אירוע חריג בכפר האולימפי: תשעה שחקני נבחרת הבייסבול הלאומית החליטו לשבור מיטה כחלק מסרטון ויראלי שהופץ בטיקטוק. הוועד האולימפי: ״רואים את המקרה בחומרה רבה״ | @GLZRadio pic.twitter.com/SUed3crXP7

— Adar Gitsis | אדר גיציס (@_Gitsis_) July 27, 2021

The Israel Olympic baseball team landed themselves in hot water after uploading a video to TikTok of themselves attempting to deliberately break the beds provided to athletes at the Games.

Eager to test out the rigidity of the so-called "anti-sex" beds, began with one athlete bouncing on the bed before another joined him, and then another, and then another and so on. They eventually managed to get nine people jumping up and down on the recyclable bed frame before it eventually gave way.

Despite the humorous tone of the clip, their antics drew criticism with Ben Wanger, the player who originally posted the video, forced to apologize. "We meant no disrespect, and just wanted to show off how effective and sturdy the beds are in the Olympic Village," he said.

12. France's Yohann Ndoye-Brouard hits the wall


— Michael (@LazySwimCoach) July 26, 2021

In the same race in which Ryan Murphy cruised into the men's 100 backstroke final, French swimmer Yohann Ndoye-Brouard was having a day to forget.

Having set his sights on a place in the final, Ndoye-Brouard suffered disappointment after failing to spot the flags indicating he would need to flip and push off the fast approaching wall.

As a result, he ended up crashing directly into midstroke. In trying to correct it, he then ended up on his stomach as his feet left the wall, resulting in an instant disqualification. Not that it mattered, with the Frenchman finishing dead last in the heat. He later attributed the error to an ongoing eye condition.

13. A South American love story

Argentinian fencer Maria Belen Perez Maurice failed to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics but ended up taking home something else gold and shiny after her longtime coach and partner proposed.

Lucas Guillermo popped the question while Perez Maurice was conducting a television interview, showing a handwritten sign to the camera that read: "Will you marry me, please?"

The South American athlete, who had rejected her partner's previous proposal in 2010, luckily said yes this time around.

14. Chukwuebuka Enekwechi washes his only jersey

VIDEO: Nigeria's Enekwechi washing his 'only' jersey ahead of shotput final at Tokyo Olympics

🎥: @thechuksay/Instagram#Tokyo2020 @SundayDareSD @NigeriaFMYS pic.twitter.com/TYS2m6p6Ft

— TheCable (@thecableng) August 3, 2021

Nigerian shot put star Chukwuebuka Enekwechi showed the more mundane side to life at the Olympics in a video shared to social media showing him washing his "only" jersey ahead of an appearance in the final.

In the clip, he can be seen cleaning the garment in a sink full of water. "When you qualify for Olympic Finals, but you have only one jersey," the caption reads with Chukwuebuka's experience standing in stark contrast to that of many U.S. athletes at the Games. The Nigerian eventually opted to take the video down after the footage sparked criticism of the country's preparations for the games.

15. Cyclist crosses the line mistakenly thinking she's won the race

Dutch cyclist wins silver at the Olympics.
Annemiek van Vleuten wins silver in the road race cycling at the Olympic Games. ANP/Hollandse Hoogte/Robin Utrecht/ANP Sport via Getty

Annemiek Van Vleuten suffered the gut-churning embarrassment of crossing the line in the women's Olympic road cycling race fully believing she had won in style.

As she completed the race at the Fuji International Speedway, the Dutchwoman could be seen with her arms aloft, expecting to take the adulation in.

There is no radio communication between cyclists and their support team in road races at the Games, meaning Van Vleuten was blissfully unaware of the fact Austrian Anna Keisenhofer had finished one minute and 15 seconds ahead of her.

Her bliss would be short-lived.

16. French boxer scores Olympic Gold in being a bad loser

Mourad Aliev stages Olympic boxing protest.
France's Mourad Aliev stages sit-in protest outside the ring after losing by disqualification against Britain's Frazer Clarke in the Olympic boxing. Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

France's Mourad Aliev had appeared on track for a medal in the super heavyweight boxing but ended up being disqualified after the referee repeatedly reprimanded him for using his head to open up a cut above his opponent Frazer Clarke's eye.

Aliev reacted with fury, kicking his gum shield across the ring and remonstrating with the referee. The next few minutes saw the Frenchman gesturing angrily towards Clarke, who tried to calm the situation down, while shouting "I won, I won!"

He later began hitting a TV camera with his fists after the result was announced and staged a sit-protest on the canvas just outside the ropes, remaining there for 30 minutes.

17. Canadian diver scores 0.0

Woke up and still can't get passed #PamelaWare epic fail. I feel soo bad for her😂😂😂 #diving #Olympics pic.twitter.com/26QLS8sZHZ

— Shaquille Omari (@shaq_omari) August 3, 2021

Canadian diver Pamela Ware suffered the ignominy of scoring 0-0 in the 3m springboard event following a major misstep during her attempt.

She ended up landing feet-first in the pool, bagging herself a big fat zero in the process. The incident nevertheless caught the attention of many on social media, where her effort drew a mixture of shock and sympathy from fans.

Ware ended up finishing 18th and later took to Instagram to comment on her newfound fame. "What we do in the competition is just a tiny factor of what we actually do to get to where we are," she said in a video posted to the site.

"I was so ready for this competition, and I made a mistake. It could have happened to anybody, but it happened to me at the wrong time."

18. Ukrainian not-so-sharpshooter

Ukrainian shooter Serhiy Kulish at the Olympics.
Serhiy Kulish of Team Ukraine competes in 50m Rifle 3-Position Men's Finals on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ukrainian shooter Serhiy Kulish ended up missing out on a medal at the Olympics after suffering the mother of all mishaps—he shot his opponent's target.

Kulish won silver in the 10-meter rifle event at Rio in 2016 and looked on course for a medal in the 50-meter event in Tokyo having climbed to fourth after 30 shots of the final.

However, he ended up being the first of eight shooters eliminated from the seventh series, later blaming a bizarre wardrobe malfunction for his mistake.

"The button on my jacket came undone and I felt some discomfort, but time passed and I had to make a shot so I didn't notice that I was already aiming for someone else's target," he told Reuters.

19. Cameraman cuts away from hockey to film cockroach

?? pic.twitter.com/KQmuQPPJAt

— roselia fan (@s6ntispam) July 26, 2021

One camera operator at the Games got people talking after they decided most people would rather watch a cockroach than an actual game of hockey.

Argentinian sports channel TyC had been showing a women's game between Argentina and Spain when suddenly the "action" cut to a random close-up shot of the insect.

Apparently eager to keep up with the action at hand the commentator could be heard to remark "la cucaracha" in case anyone at home was in any doubt. Footage of this bizarre moment soon found its way onto Twitter, prompting much amusement in the process.

20. China fury at weightlifter photo

Among all the photos of the game, @Reuters has chosen this one, which only shows how ugly they are.

Don't put politics and ideologies above sports, and call yourself an unbiased media organization. Shameless.

Respect the spirit of #Olympics.

— Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka (@ChinaEmbSL) July 24, 2021

Chinese state media was none too impressed with the way several 'western' news outlets reported the Olympic gold medal success of Hou Zhihui.

Organizations including Reuters were accused of using an unflattering photo of Hou in news pieces reporting her victory in the women's 49k weightlifting event.

In the photo, the 24-year-old can be seen straining as she prepares to lift a weight. Reacting to the choice of picture, the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka tweeted:

"Among all the photos of the games, @Reuters has chosen this one, which only shows how ugly they are.

"Don't put politics and ideologies above sports, and call yourself an unbiased media organisation. Shameless."

21. Moroccan golfer Maha Haddioui scores a hole in one

🚨 ACE ALERT! 🚨 @MahaHaddioui of #MOR hits a perfect shot at the #Olympics!#Tokyo2020 | @OlympicGolf


— LPGA (@LPGA) August 5, 2021

Morocco's Maha Haddioui grabbed the early headlines in the Olympic golf after she got the first hole in one of the Tokyo Games and only the fourth in the history of women's golf at the Olympics.

Though she may not have ended up in medal contention, her impressive feat on the 163-yard 7th hold during Round 2 of the women's golf competition was spectacular to say the least.

22. Norwegian triathlete suffers epic wardrobe malfunction

What a run from Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt... translucent suit & all.

Gold Coaster Matt Hauser 24th in his games debut. 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/tK31KK3StJ

— Dominique Loudon (@dloudon9) July 25, 2021

Kristian Blummenfelt deserved to be the talk of the internet after his impressive Gold medal winning performance in the men's triathlon.

Unfortunately, much of the online discussion instead focused on his choice of attire for the event, which ended up being a little revealing to say the least.

Evidently designed to combat the humid conditions of daytime Tokyo, the Norwegian's suit turned almost translucent, revealing pretty much everything in the process.

23. Sumo statues causing a scare

The sumo jump at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Sumo wrestler jump at the Equestrian Park in Tokyo, Japan. Julian Finney/Getty Images

Animal lovers went wild for the Equestrian events at this summer's Olympics, with many taking a shine to the impressive dance moves on show.

However, going into the event, there were some concerns over the choice of decorative figures around the showjumping course and, specifically, a selection of sumo-theme jump adorned with wrestlers in traditional Japanese loincloths.

According to The Sun, one British rider, Harry Charles, says at least "four or five horses" ended up being spooked by the figures and specifically one set up in a ready-to-engage pose.

Thankfully, when it came to the main event itself, it all went off without a hitch.

The most shocking moments of the Olympics.
Nurislam Sanayev bites India's Kumar Ravi/ diver Pamela Ware scores 0.0/Kristian Blummenfelt bold outfit. Jack Guez/Oli Scarff/Loic Venance./Getty

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