Face Plants, Fire Extinguishers and Other Fails: The Olympic Torch Stumbles Toward Rio

Olympic torch
Brazilian residents passed the Olympic torch at Independence Park in Sao Paulo in July. Not all such exchanges have gone smoothly.

The torch relay for the Rio Olympic Games has been a sport of its own — a contact sport.

The torch began its trip around Brazil in early May. And it has not been an entirely smooth journey.

When nonathletic people of all ages try something outside their comfort zone, like running with a torch for a few hundred yards, things can go wrong. There are also enough people who object to the Brazilian government’s spending money on the Games — and enough general pranksters — that disruptions have occurred, despite heavy security.

In the saddest episode, a jaguar who was part of a torch ceremony in Manaus escaped and was shot in June.

Most of the other mishaps and commotions have been mostly harmless, however, even straying into the amusing. Here are some of the oddest:

Motorcycle crashes into security officer (don’t miss the enterprising man in green who comes in on the left):

Guy with fire extinguisher fails badly:


Guy with bucket of water takes his shot (action starts around the minute mark):

Man in black is foiled:


Face plant:


More face plantage:


The torch relay, invented for the Nazi Olympics of 1936, has seldom been incident free in recent years. The torch for the 2008 Beijing games was taken to sites around the world, frequently meeting with protestors supporting Tibetan independence. In 2012 in Britain, a streaker joined the parade.

The 2016 torch relay ends with the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. That’s still plenty of time for more chaos.