The Top 10 Biggest Sports #Fails of All Time
For athletes on the world stage, nothing is worse than choking under pressure. Here are the 10 most memorable transgressors
- By Jim Morrison
- Smithsonian.com, June 28, 2012
(Gilbert Iundt; Jean-Yves Ruszniewski / TempSport / Corbis)
"We all choke," the tennis champion John McEnroe once said. "Winners know how to handle choking better than losers."
McEnroe knew what he was talking about. He entered the 1984 French Open without having lost a match all year and destroyed Ivan Lendl in the first two sets. With the scored tied 1-1 in the third set, McEnroe, enraged by distracting noise from a cameraman's headset, walked over and screamed during a break.
“I thought, What the hell am I doing? If you start lashing out when things are going well, you may be letting your opponent think that you’re not as sure of yourself as you seem," he said years later.
The rest is one of the great upsets in tennis history with McEnroe losing in five sets, a match remembered more for his outburst and collapse than Lendl's fitness and resolve.
In sports, sometimes it's the losers we remember as much as the winners, usually because they were in a position to win and failed spectacularly. The flip side of every great comeback is a great collapse.
Without the Chicago Cubs of 2003, there would be no Florida Marlins miracle World Series season. Without the Houston Oilers of the 1993 football playoffs, there would be no third consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills. Without Greg Norman's meltdown, there would be no Masters title for Nick Faldo, who hadn't been a contender on the tour for two years.
Here are our choices for the ten biggest chokes in sports history: