Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bizarre Olympic Moment - Day 3

Each day of the 2008 Olympics we're going to find a bizarre clip or story from a past Summer Olympics. Today we'll look at Australian Rower Sally Robbins.

Australian Sally Robbins was involved a bizarre moment in 2004 Olympics. Robbins was one of the nine members of Australia’s rowing team. The team was third through the first 1,000 metres but had dropped back to fifth with 500 metres remaining, three seconds behind the leaders. During the final 400 metres Robbins dropped her oar, allowing it to drag in the water, gave up and laid back on teammate Julia Wilson's lap. Australia, consequently, finished last, ten seconds behind the fifth place crew.

Robbins was dubbed “Lay Down Sally” by the Australian media and her teammates were not very supportive either:

"We had nine in the boat but only eight operating. I just want to stress there was not a technical problem. No seat broke. There was nothing wrong with boat," team mate Julia Wilson said.
Robbins, one of Australia's most technically sound rowers, claimed she was physically exhausted and was unable to physically move:

"Suddenly fatigue sets in and I just can't move, you know. It's a feeling of paralysis where you just hit the wall,"
Robbins claims of physical exhaustion were refuted by other rowers in the media who instead believed the "no row" was due to a lack of mental toughness as she had also stopped rowing on several other occassions, like at an event in 2002:

Robbins dropped her oar hundreds of metres short of the line as "Australia was blitzing the race, leading the entire field all the way," according to rower Rachel Taylor. "It was as about as sure a thing as you could get to having the world title in the bag, when with approximately 400 metres to go Sally Robbins stopped rowing.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

After the Olympics tensions were still very high. Back in Australia, during a parade to honour the Olympians, Robbins was slapped by teammate Catriona Oliver

Sally Robbins didn’t quit rowing after Athens. This year, she was performing strongly in camp and selection trials in hopes of making the 2008 Olympics. There was still deep-rooted suspicions in the squad that she was psychologically ill-equipped to race at Olympic level. Two of the squad went far as stating they would refuse to compete on the same team as Robbins, which may be one big reason she's not on the team.

Take a look at the 16 most bizarre Olympic moments in history:

Day 1 - Eric "The Eel" Moussambani
Day 2 - Betty Robinson
Day 3 - Sally Robbins
Day 4 - Abebe Bilkila
Day 5 - 1972 USA Basketball team
Day 6 - Bobby Pearce
Day 7 - Byun Jong-il
Day 8 - Stella Walsh
Day 9 - Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
Day 10 - Ingeborg Marx
Day 11 - Vanderlei de Lima
Day 12 - Hans-Jurgen Todt
Day 13 - Liu Changchun
Day 14 - Dorando Pietri
Day 15 - 1956 Hungarian Water Polo Team
Day 16 - 1960 Tunisian Modern Pentathlon Team

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