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The gaffes Games organisers didn't want
Mohen Govender
06:40 AEST Mon Aug 13 2012

From the new Bond girl parachuting into the Olympic Stadium to Mr Bean's virtuoso rendition of Charriots of Fire on the keyboard, the 2012 London Games began with a delightful and charming opening script.

Then came the unscripted version, which left organisers stony faced.

It began with the mysterious "lady in red," Madhura Nagendra, who marched alongside the Indian team at the Games' opening ceremony in view of a television audience of one billion.

Wearing a bright red top and jeans, Nagendra was a cast member and volunteer who decided to join the march past much to the embarrassment of Games organisers.

It was similar to imposter Karl Power standing in the Manchester United team photograph dressed in the Red Devils outfit and when he strode out to bat for England against Australia at Headingley.

But the Indian delegation did not see the funny side to it.

"We will ask for an apology," said Indian acting chef de mission Muralidharan Raja.

"She embarrassed us in front of the world. The Indian contingent was shown (on television) for just 10 seconds, and to think this lady hogged all the limelight."

London Games chief Sebastian Coe was forced to smooth things over with the Indians and reassured the Olympic family there was no breach in security, which was the buzz word leading up to showpiece.

Firm G4S revealed they could not make good on their promise to provide 10,400 contracted guards, forcing the military to plug the gap.

Altogether, the total number of military personnel involved at the Games was more than 18,000, including 11,000 helping secure Games venues.

But even they could not prevent two spectators, dressed as wrestlers with Swedish flags painted on their faces, from vaulting two barriers and running onto the floor to celebrate their countryman's bronze medal victory at the wrestling.

One ran on to the mat before turning around and retreating to the side of the arena, where the other had stayed, before being escorted off the floor.

They got their monies worth alright, unlike the hungry fans at the equestrian who missed British rider Mary King's electrifying performance after queuing for more than an hour for food.

A number of stalls ran out of food while vendors re-stocked at the site in Greenwich, south east London, as a worker stood outside an outlet holding a cardboard sign saying: "No food, just snacks and drinks".

Timing was also an issue for heartbroken Korean fencer Shin a Lam, who stayed on the piste for more than an hour as officials argued over her defeat.

Shin thought she was through to the final when the clock turned to zero only for Austrian referee Barbara Csa to rule there was still one second left, during which time her opponent scored.

The result stood but the International Fencing Federation said she would receive a special medal for her "aspiration to win and respect for the rules".

In the hammer, the competition computer was not designed to handle identical distances in successive throws so Germany's Betty Heidler was initially denied a bronze medal.

China's Zhang Wenxiu, believing she had won the bronze, completed a lap of honour only to be told later the decision had been reversed.

Six days later, German Lilli Schwarzkopf was disqualified from the women's heptathlon for stepping off the track, but red-faced judges had to concede they got it wrong after video replays showed the runner behind her had committed the offence. She eventually won silver.

"You can only compare it with hell," said Scwarzkopf. "Unfortunately I missed out on a lap of honour."

Also unhappy were the North Korean soccer officials and players who delayed the start of their match against Colombia by more than an hour after a flag dispute.

The Koreans refused to take the field after the South Korean flag was mistakenly displayed on a jumbo screen at Hampden Park instead of North Korea's, prompting them to remain in the dressing room.

It was more frantic though in the mixed zone - interviewing area - for reporters who literally felt the earth move while interviewing United States women's beach volleyball champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings.

Reporters scrambled to safety as the floor gave way, causing the two newly-crowned gold medallists to slightly lose their balance before being ushered away.

But the gold medal of gaffes involves Australia's champion sailors.

Before winning a swag of the best possible colour in Weymouth to become the most successful sailing nation at the Games, they were forced to temporarily abandon the athletes' village in southwest England after sewage came out of their showers.

Gold medallist Nathan Outteridge was forced to spend a night in a hotel after the foul-smelling effluent bubbled up into a bathroom area.

"On the second night there was some issue and there was s*** coming out of the downstairs shower," he said. "It was just a minor drama - it happens."

Even at the biggest, most glamorous and anticipated Games in recent years, these things happen.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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