Looking Back At The Most Calamitous Sporting Performances In Recent Years

We delve into some of the most disastrous displays across sport
18:05, 21 Feb 2022

There is nothing worse when it comes to being a professional athlete than when you have a performance to forget that you know you will never be able to escape. Well on Sunday, New Zealand international footballer Meikayla Moore was the latest star to have a day to forget at the office.

In the SheBelieves Cup against the United States on Sunday, Moore scored a perfect hat-trick of own goals as New Zealand were beaten 5-0 by the Stars and Stripes. The 25-year-old had a torrid time trying to deal with USA’s constant barrage of crosses into the box. 

She was hauled off just before the break and no one would have felt more to blame for the eventual defeat than the Liverpool defender. Two of her own goals came in the space of a minute in the opening stages of the match, before the third later in the first half completed one of the most calamitous halves in football history.

As a result of this unfortunate performance, we have decided to take a look at some of the other disastrous displays across sport. Here are some of the worst cases.

Elizabeth Swaney

Winter Olympics halfpipe skier, Elizabeth Swaney of Hungary, grabbed the headlines in the Pyeongchang Games in 2018 as she finished dead last as a result of a very careful run down the slopes in which she attempted no tricks and looked more like a first-timer. She was her country’s first ever freestyle skier to compete at the Olympics and it showed. 

Swaney was able to complete both her qualifying runs without any slip-ups but with no stunts attempted or completed, she scored an underwhelming 30 and 31.4 out of 100, compared to the 95.8 scored by gold medallist Cassie Sharpe of Canada.

Tom McLean

In rugby union, National League 3 side Brixham’s centre, Tom McLean, is a comical addition to this list as he thought he had scored a try, only to discover he had made the five-metre line. 

He leapt like a salmon and the humorous dive by McLean became even funnier when a spectator highlighted to him he was at the wrong line. As the centre thought he’d become a hero, he was swarmed by opposition players capitalising on his error of judgement. 

After the game against fellow Devonshire side Barnstaple, he said he could not see the try line because of the muddy state of the pitch. Without his try, his side lost the game 6-0, but had he gone to score and his side then converted, they could have won the game 7-6. 

Shane Duffy

Republic of Ireland defender Duffy has established himself in the Premier League with Brighton & Hove Albion in recent years, but before his move to Sussex he had a very forgettable match away at Cardiff City for Blackburn Rovers in the Championship in 2016. 

Duffy not only scored two own goals in the match, taking his tally to three in the space of a week, but he was also sent his marching orders with a straight red card, capping off a horrendous personal performance. It left everyone wondering why he was being touted for a move to English football’s promised land.

Lindsey Jacobellis

Another Winter Olympian makes the cut on this list as American Jacobellis’ fall and slip-up at the Turin Games of 2006 cost her the gold medal in the snowboarding cross final. 

After two of her opponents fell out of the race, she was comfortably leading heading into the final stages but her costly mistake at the end over one of the final hills, in which she fell after going for an acrobatic piece of showboating. Her arrogance made her lose all her momentum and she had to settle for the silver medal. It was a classic case of so close, yet so far - and not to mention easily avoidable.

Jarl Magnus Riiber

Norwegian skier Jarl Magnus Riiber will have sleepless nights after a very costly mistake at this year’s Olympics in Beijing. Having had a Covid-19 isolation period in the build-up to the Nordic combined individual large hill/10km event, he was unable to learn and practice the track and it had a drastic effect on his race. 

Having led the cross country leg by a staggering 44 seconds, he ended up taking a wrong turn and it cost him dearly as he had to turn around and make up the ground in which he went off track. This allowed the chasing pack to catch up with him and he finished in eighth out of 10 Olympians in the cross country race.

Dan-Axel Zagadou

The Borussia Dortmund defender had an evening to forget against Rangers in the Europa League as his side were well-beaten 4-2 by the Scottish champions. Not only did the centre-back miss a glaring chance to open the scoring as he found himself unmarked for a free header following a corner, he then gave away a penalty for a handball in which his arm was naturally raised which saw his side go two goals down at home. 

His poor evening was then topped off when he scored an own goal later in the game - it may have taken a deflection off his boot which carried Alfredo Morelos’ shot into the far corner. In what was a completely forgettable performance by the entire Black and Yellows team, Zagadou’s horror show stood out above the rest of his team-mates.

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