Home Culture Culture Lists

12 Most Bizarre Olympic Moments (So Far)

From green hair to green water

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte's hair turned green due to Rio pool's chlorine.

Martin Bureau/Getty

Heading into this summer, thanks to reports of unpreparedness and corruption, we all figured that the Rio Olympics would be unlike any other. And so far they've delivered – just not in the way we'd initially thought.  

Every day there have been stories that focus on the stranger things that are going on in Brazil, from tales of polluted water to Ryan Lochte doing Ryan Lochte things. After just one week of competition, here are some of the most eye-raising, hilarious, and downright bizarre stories to come out of Rio… so far. 

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Odd Anderson/Getty

Green Water

Nothing exemplifies the oddness of the Rio Olympics more than this story. While it was widely known that Rio's bays and rivers were polluted, it was the swimming pools that made headlines after many of them literally turned a shade of green. That's right, despite the fact these are the prestigious Olympic games which athletes train their entire lives for, both the pools where the diving and water polo events take place actually changed color. While officials have offered conflicting explanations why (from an algae bloom to organizers simply running out of treatment chemicals), one thing is certain: green pools were not part of the plan.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Martin Bureau/Getty

Lochte’s Green Hair

Olympic pools aren't the only thing turning green in Brazil during the games. Everyone's second-favorite swimmer and former E! reality show personality, Ryan Lochte, recently dyed his hair silver for some reason, only to see it turn green after hoping in those bizarre Rio pools to compete. Even worse, many on Twitter were comparing Lochte's looks to Jared Leto's Joker character. (Have you seen Suicide Squad?!)

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Stadium Key

We have to give Rio Olympic organizers some credit. The opening ceremony went off without a hitch and was a dazzling spectacle of Olympic-ness. However, two days before the games officially began and ahead of a preliminary woman's soccer match, organizers literally lost the key to one of Olympic Stadium's gates. That's right; much like an irresponsible roommate who'd always lose apartment keys during drunken nights out, organizers didn't have the foggiest idea where the heck they left the keys to one particular gate, leading officials to bust out bolt cutters and break the darn gate open.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far


Phelps Spots

It's the first Michael Phelps story that instantly went viral. No, we're not talking about his angry face (though, the dude looked fierce), but rather when his skin appeared to be covered in purple blotches. People around the world wondered collectively, "What the heck is that?" Apparently, the weird marks were just a result of something called cupping which is a Chinese practice that aides muscle recovery. However, we think it'd be more fun to imagine that Phelps is in the midst of his physical transformation into an actual merman. We're keeping our eyes peeled for any signs of sprouting fins.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Okan Oze/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Basketball Bungles

Heading into Rio, Team USA was pretty much guaranteed to dominate thanks to an array of all-star players including Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, all coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski. While they have indeed been winning, the wins haven't exactly been as smooth as everyone assumed. Just look at their recent game against Australia's energetic team who the USA's contingent of players worked valiantly to fight off and came close to losing the whole thing. According to USA forward Paul George, America knew Australia would be tough going in, saying that the team "has a knack for being a little dirty."

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Goh Chai Hin/Getty

Weighlifting Break

Like gruesome clockwork, when the Summer Olympics come around, so do stories of weightlifters breaking bones in half. Sadly, it was a muscleman from Armenia who has the distinction of making everyone cringe this summer as he snapped his arm in half while in competition. Here's hoping it heals in time for Tokyo.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Sean M. Haffey/Getty

Sick Horse

It's all fun and games until a horse gets toxic fever. That’s what happened to Parzival, a silver medalist in London, who was competing in a dressage match after getting bit by one of Rio's famed mosquitos. The poor guy fell ill and forced his rider, Dutch Olympian Adelinde Cornelissen, to drop out of the games. Thankfully, after a diet full of liquids and plenty of rest, Parzival is reportedly feeling much better.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far


Media Bus Shooting

When it comes to crime, there have been various reports in the media of criminals taking advantage of the influx of Rio visitors. However, the media became part of the story when a bus holding various press people from around the world was shot at. Officials are still looking into what exactly happened, but thankfully nobody was seriously injured.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Clive Brunskill/Getty

Serena and Venus Out

Speaking of assumed dominance, all eyes were on Venus and Serena Williams – both hot off an incredible year – to bring home some hardware on behalf of America. However, things didn't quite go according to plan as the duo lost their doubles match and Serena was eliminated in her singles competition much to everyone's shock. Even worse, Serena lost to a player from Ukraine who's ranked the 20th best in the word. (Williams is currently number one.) Knowing the Williams sister's completive spirit, these stinging losses should only propel them to future wins as a result.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Carl De Souza/Getty

Couch Kayaker

Pretend, if you will, that you're a professional kayaker who heads down to Rio in the hopes of taking home a gold for your home country. Then, during a match, you’re cruising along and suddenly crash into a submerged couch causing you to capsize. That's apparently what happened to one poor soul navigating Rio’s famously polluted waterways. And while we don’t know the identity of the athlete, or if this even actually happened (last week officials said they were "investigating" the incident), the whole affair would be very on-brand for this year's games.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Ben Stansall/Getty

Chinese Flag Flap

When honoring winning countries, it might be a good idea to at least fly said country's actual flag. That's not what happened when Rio organizers used a knock-off Chinese flag with wrong-facing stars instead of the correct version. It wasn't until days after the snafu was discovered did the flags get swapped out, and as of today the citizens of China can rest easy knowing that Rio finally got their flags right.

Most Bizarre Olympic Moments So Far

Alex Livesey/Getty

Fencing Dropped Call

We understand some people are addicted to their iPhones, but this is a little much. During a recent match, fencer Enzo Lefort was in competition when his phone popped out of his pocket and plopped onto his ground. As for exactly why he brought his phone with him to an Olympic match, let's just hope it had nothing to do with Pokemon Go.