Sport v Weather: Five Times Sport Beat The Elements

The Rugby World Cup has had to call off two games already
13:47, 10 Oct 2019

With the news that Rugby World Cup games have been cancelled for the first time ever because of the impending arrival of Typhoon Hagibis in Japan over the weekend, we have taken a look at five times the weather attempted to ruin a sporting event, but sport came out on top.  

Snow Bowl 2017 - Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills

America is known for being subject to some of the fiercest weather conditions in the world and, incredibly, the last time an NFL game was cancelled due to the weather was back in 1935. So when a severe snowstorm in 2017 hit the New Era Field, home of the Buffalo Bills just a few miles from the Canadian border, there was no inclination to call off the clash between the Bills and the Indianapolis Colts.

Amazingly, nine inches of snow fell on top of the ground during the game, making for spectacular scenes and a match that would later be dubbed ‘Snow Bowl’. The home side came out on top, winning 13-7 in overtime, but this game will always be remembered for the incredible conditions rather than the final score.


Australian Open 2014 

 From the depths of winter to the heights of summer. The 2014 Australian Open

was played in “inhumane” conditions according to Canadian Frank Dancevic, who fainted during his match with Benoit Paire. With the temperature up above 40°C for the majority of the tournament, peaking at 43.9°C, play was only suspended for one day and players, fans and officials alike suffered from heatstroke as a result.

Stan Wawrinka won the men’s singles with Li Na coming out on top in the women’s draw, but the heat did not make for the most entertaining spectacle nor the best viewing experience for those fans courtside.

Ice Bowl 1967 (Coldest NFL Game ever)

Back to the NFL and the Ice Bowl in 1967. With the temperature at -26°C and the added wind chill taking it down to -38°C, this was the coldest game ever played in the sport’s history. The turf-heating system malfunctioned and then as the pitch cover was removed it left a sheet of moisture on the pitch, which froze almost instantly.

The pitch was rock hard, an elderly fan died in the stands due to the cold and the brass band instruments froze to the lips of those playing, many of them having to go to the hospital with hypothermia.

It was so cold that the referee’s whistle stuck to his lips as he started play and the skin ripped from his lip as he tried to remove it. Crazy conditions, yet the Green Bay Packers won 21-17 in a chaotic game.


Italian fifth division football - Goalscorer: the wind

It is with good reason that many footballers hate playing in the wind more than any other weather. It completely ruins the game.

There are hundreds of examples of this being the case but one extreme instance comes from Italy when Delta Porto Tolle were taking on Ischia in 2013.

With Ischia already 1-0 up, the Delta goalkeeper attempted a routine kick upfield only for the ball to loop in the air, catch in the wind and bounce straight back over him. Amazingly the game continued and the freak occurrence went down as an own goal. We’re fairly certain the wind will have claimed it had it gone to the dubious goals panel though.


New Zealand v Scotland - Water Polo Test

We could learn a thing or two from this test match. The pitch was completely waterlogged back in 1975, but the players didn’t let that bother them as they playing out the whole game in farcical conditions. All Blacks prop Billy Bush said after the game: “Thank goodness the referee blew up any collapsed scrums quickly – someone could have drowned!”

Eden Park was renamed Lake Eden for this contest and the All Blacks won the game 24-0. Many actually believe that the game would have been rescheduled if Scotland were not flying back home the following day!