Bobby Pearce is one of Australia’s greatest Olympians. He won the gold in the single skulls in both the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. Although, he is one of the greatest rowers in history his legacy lies not with his records (his 1928 time was a world record until 1972) but for his gentile nature.
Bobby Pearce was consistently beating his competitors by thirty seconds or more in his pursuit for the gold medal. In the semi-finals he lined up next to Frenchman Victor Saurin in what would be one of the most bizarre moments in Olympics history. Just before his death Pearce relived the race that made him famous:
"I had beaten a German and a Dane in earlier heats and I was racing a Frenchman then I heard wild roars from the crowd along the bank of the canal. I could see some spectators vigorously pointing to something behind me, in my path. I peeked over one shoulder and saw something I didn't like, for a family of ducks in single file was swimming slowly from shore to shore. It's funny now, but it wasn't at the time ... I had to lean on my oars and wait for a clear course, and all the while my opponent was pulling away to a five length lead."
After coming to a full stop in a race any other rower would have been completely out of it, but Pearce’s remarkable ability allowed him not only to make up the difference but take a 30 second lead on his opponent. In the finals he claimed his first gold medal to complete his legacy.
(Sources: 101 Olympians and AOL Sports)
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