Top five: Olympic bloopers

Eurosport - Fri, 26 Feb 09:00:00 2010

A coach's split-second lapse of concentration was all it took to add Sven Kramer's name to a roll call of athletes hit by mishap, mistake or miscalculation when they thought Olympic gold was already in the bag.

2010 Winter Olympics Netherlands Sven Kramer - 0

Kramer raised an arm in triumph as he crossed the line in the 10,000m speedskating only to discover his coach Gerard Kemkers had sent him into the wrong lane, leading to the three letters every athlete fears - DSQ (disqualified).

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory provides one of the worst feelings in sport - heartbreaking for the athlete and just as uncomfortable to watch, unless you happen to be the beneficiary or are happy to indulge feelings of Schadenfreude.

Kramer reacted to his disqualification by throwing down his racing glasses in disgust, while South Korea's Lee Seung-hoon celebrated his outrageous fortune.

It will be no consolation, but Kramer is by no means alone in losing a victory that looked signed, sealed and delivered.

Lindsey Jacobellis

The American found one of the more ridiculous ways of denying herself gold in the snowboard cross final in 2006.

Leading by a street, she decided to showboat at the finish with an unnecessary Method Air jump, lost her balance and allowed Tanja Frieden to race past her for gold.

Other athletes might have endured lectures about hubris but Jacobelli's mistake seemed to fit with the shoulder-shrugging style of the sport itself. "Oh well, it happens," was her attitude.

Jane Saville

The Australian walker thought she was about to win a home gold in Sydney in 2000 as she came into the stadium only to be red flagged for "lifting" - allowing neither of her feet to be in contact with the road for a split second.

She took it a bit harder than Jacobellis. Asked what she needed after the race she replied: "A gun to shoot myself."

United States basketball team

In 1972 the US men's team were celebrating on court after the players thought the gold medal match had finished while they led by a point.

A match that had already been hugely contentious had one final twist, however, as officials ordered the final three seconds replayed - and the Soviet Union nicked the win.

Matt Emmons

While arguments about that game are still going on, American shooter Emmons knows he only has himself to blame.

It was probably just nerves that cost him in Athens in 2004, as he fired at the wrong target when leading.

He deserves a special mention for throwing gold away again four years later, pulling the trigger too early.

The consolation for Emmons came when a female Czech shooter and commentator came over to him in Athens to commiserate.

By the time Beijing 2008 came around the two were married - which shows there can be a silver lining to missing gold.

Dorando Pietri

The Italian was physically as well as emotionally exhausted when he crossed the line in the 1908 London marathon after an unusually hot day took its toll.

Pietri finished the race in two hours 54 minutes 46 seconds, although 10 minutes were needed to complete the final 350 metres.

But his efforts were in vain as he was stripped of his gold because he had to be helped to his feet by umpires several times on his way to the finish.

Reuters / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account