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Top five worst sporting disasters in Australian history

IAN Healy reckons it’s the WAGs’ fault.

Warney reckons Peter Siddle would have fixed it.

Whatever you think of the Australians’ calamitous performance in the fourth Ashes Test, everyone agrees that it is one of the biggest sporting disasters in the nation’s history.

The first innings 60 that they were dismissed for before lunch on day one was the lowest score in an Ashes since 1936.

It was the fastest completed innings in all of Test history – just 111 balls, spelled out, making less characters than a Tweet.

Closer analysis reveals only eight of the English’s 111 balls were at the stumps. That means they could have left every ball and still lasted longer.

It was the third time in Test history a team had been dismissed before lunch on the opening day of a Test and the first time that extras (14) had top scored in an Ashes innings.

Stuart Broad’s haul of eight wickets included the equal fastest five wicket haul of all time and the 214-run lead the Poms enjoyed at the end of day one was the third largest first day advantage in Test history.

The ton cracked by Joe Root was only the third ever posted by a second innings batsman on day one.

Ian Healy questioned the Aussies’ ticker and reckoned the wives and girlfriends on tour had contributed to the poor performance.

“Their hearts might not be that strong,” Healy said.

“Look at the performance in Edgbaston and Cardiff before that.

“That was a poor performance and so is this.

“Are they together as a team? Do they fragment from here? Do they meet and talk about it tonight? Will they confront it?

“All their partners are here and some of the most respected cricketers I played with hated that distraction.

“They weren’t allowed on tour until after the series had been won. Your mind needs to be completely focused on it.

“Cricket is a sport that requires complete concentration.

“You need everything going for you and I’m not sure they’re pushing for that hard enough.”

It was futile.

It was embarrassing.

It was not anywhere near the standard of cricket – and sporting – fight the Australian public has become accustomed to.

And it ended in an innings and 78 run loss that will go down as one of the worst in the nation’s history.

In honour of the disgusting effort, we’ve taken a look at a few other sporting disasters our best and brightest athletes have served up over the years.

In no particular order – Don’t enjoy it too much.

Tears for Jane Saville at the Sydney 2000 Olympics

If you watched the Sydney 2000 Olympics, you don’t even have to be a sporting fan to have the shattered face of Jane Saville etched in your mind forever, right as she was disqualified for lifting her feet for a third time in the 20km walk.

Saville was on her way into the Olympic Stadium to take the gold medal and the 100,000 strong crowd was going mental.

It went silent quickly and Saville was inconsolable, distraught, shattered, as the marshall showed her the dreaded paddle – Just like the entire nation behind her.

“I saw the chief judge and he started touching his paddle and I thought ‘no, no’,” Saville said.

“Then he had to check the number and it was me.

“What can you do? Nothing.

“I was embarrassed and upset.

”It has been a dream of mine to walk into the stadium first.

“As I was approaching the tunnel, I was thinking ‘I can do this’.

“This was a dream. I could hear the crowd.

“I knew that my family and friends I haven’t seen for years were there, waiting for me.

“I was going to smile at them on the finish line … but it wasn’t to be.”

Organisers actually changed the rules around how disqualified walkers would be removed from the race in future events, as Saville’s offence occurred well before she was made aware of it.

The Shark bites the dust at the 1996 Masters

Golf, like tennis can be an unforgiving sport, with only yourself to blame for failures.

And Australia’s most popular golfer Greg Norman knows this only too well.

The Shark was all but home as he stepped out onto the tee for the final day of the 1996 Masters, holding a commanding six shot lead.

The hopes of a nation were on his shoulders, which should have been bearing the green jacket at the end of the day.

But it wasn’t to be.

Augusta has been known to break golfers.

And that’s what happened to Norman.

Unable to cope with the pressure of leading the tournament, his game capitulated, shooting a horrible 78 on the final day to hand the tournament win to Nick Faldo.

“I screwed up,” he said after the round.

“It’s all on me. I know that.

“But losing this Masters is not the end of the world.

“I let this one get away, but I still have a pretty good life.

“I’ll wake up tomorrow, still breathing, I hope.

“All these hiccups I have, they must be for a reason.

“All this is just a test. I just don’t know what the test is yet.”

It was the eighth time he had finished second in a major and third time head done that at a Masters, but it didn’t destroy his eternal optimism.

“I’ll win here,” he said.

“I will.

“Something great is waiting for me down the line in golf.

“I don’t know what it is, but I have to believe that.

“If I don’t, hell, I might as well put my clubs away for good.”

He never would win at Augusta.

Lay down Sally

For a sport that doesn’t exactly attract the attention of the Australian public, Sally Robbins quickly became the most well known rower in the country after a bizarre performance at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Robbins consigned her rowing team to last place when she gave up during the women’s eights final.

Robbins stopped rowing during the final, much to the disgust of her team mates.

It earned her the title of ‘Lay Down Sally’.

But Robbins blamed it on her inability to cope with the strains of the final and on her wish to please people.

“In my personality I like to please others and try to do things beyond my capabilities,” Robbins said.

“Outside of sport this is generally seen as a really good trait, but in rowing it has proven my weakness.

“In trying to please others… I try too hard and go beyond my capabilities.

“I push myself mentally and physically beyond my limits.

“There is only so much a human body can take.

“Going beyond my limits in the pressure of an Olympic final led to the collapse at the Olympic Games.’’

Her teammates managed to hold together, but Robbins did not, leading to one of the most infamous moments in Australian sports history and leaving her team mates understandably bitter.

Fellow rower Kyeema Doyle was ropable with Robbins and with the way the team had been portrayed in the wake of Robbins meltdown.

“I was so angry at the way we were being portrayed back home… as villains and being nasty, just all these sort of things (when this) has happened on so many occasions that Sally had stopped rowing,” Doyle said.

“I just didn’t want her to have opportunity to cover it up or let it slide.

“I have been in a boat on at least seven other occasions where this had happened so I was fully aware what Sally Robbins was going through.”

One Australia sinks in the America’s Cup in 1995

Australians were once enamoured with the America’s Cup.

In 1983, Australia II won the match races of the popular yacht race, ending the US dominance of the event.

It was hyped for many years, but many believe the death knell for Australia’s interest in the race was the sinking of the popular yacht in 1995.

In 144 years of the America’s Cup, John Bertrand’s $3 million beauty became the first yacht to lose by shipwreck.

It snapped in half in heavy seas.

The 17 crew members were picked up by three boats and left the Australian hopes in tatters.

“The project represented the pride of Australia,” Bertrand said.

“We had a $26 million program, which was a big budget back then.

“We had Iain Murray, Rod Davis, the best of the best.

“When the boat broke and sank it was a horrifying experience, something that we’d never contemplated.

“We went through the contingency plans for a mast breaking or someone getting injured, but a plan for the boat breaking in two and sinking was off our radar screen.”

Montreal Olympic Games debacle

Sprinter Raelene Boyle was the pride of Australia’s track and field hopes ahead of the 1976 Olympic Games, having won silver in both the 100m and 200m in 1972.

But she missed a medal in the 100m, coming fourth and then sadly false started twice in the 200m semi final and was disqualified.

Shatteringly, one of the false starts was later proved incorrect by video evidence, but it was too late and it was indicative of the Australians’ worst Olympic performance ever.

Just five medals and no gold – it was the only time they’ve come away from an Olympic Games without coming first in at least one event.

To put that in perspective, bitter rivals New Zealand won two gold medals at the event.

It was probably a good thing though. After that games, the Federal Government brought in what is now known as the Australian Institute of Sport in a bid to develop elite athletes and ensure this never happened again.

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