Five times the weather played its part in sporting history

For some stars it never rains, but it pours and what comes from the sky can make all the difference when it comes to achieving sporting glory or utter failure…


With Ireland and the UK now officially hitting national crisis levels of panic over bread shortage, there’s very little else to do other than think about iconic moments where the weather has significantly impacted major sporting events.

This ‘Beast From The East’ might think its made of stern stuff, but we’ll gladly sacrifice a few loved ones getting swept into mid-air in a blizzard (as long as they come back in one piece) once the football isn’t called off this weekend.

Here’s five unforgettable moments – whether you like them or whether you don’t. I’ll get my oversized, insulated coat.

The Ice Bowl

Seemed a good place to start, to be fair. Can a sporting event be more intimidating than this?

It was the NFL Championship of 1967 between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Back Packers. For those who need context – it was the semi-final for Super Bowl II. Keep up – good lad or lady.

The temperature at pitch-side was -24 degrees Celsius, with a wind chill of -38 degrees Celsius.

Lambeau Field has always been hailed as the most iconic football venue in the United States, but we’re not sure even we’d have been keen to sit through this one.

During the warmups, the pre-game bands’ woodwind instruments froze and a few band members were rushed to hospital for hypothermia. Referee Norm Schachter even had his whistle freeze to his lips, before pulling it free and bleeding profusely.

Just remember, your hero Alexis Sanchez wears gloves when it dips below fourteen degrees.

Tim Henman v Goran Ivanisevic – Wimbledon, 2001

Oh, Tim. England held you so dear, because you’re so unfortunate.

It seems that, on this occasion, the weather hated him. Henman reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon on four occasions in five years, spanning between 1998 and 2002.

However, none of them handed him as big a chance as this. Until the rain came.

Henman was in a groove early and had the three-day final four clash ended on the day it began, the Oxfordshire native may very well have been into a Wimbledon final for the first (and probably only) time in his career.

An hour of play was permitted on the Saturday – in which Henman lost a tie-breaker in the fourth set. Even after the game, Ivanisevic basically admitted that God himself enjoys watching Henman lose.

“When I served for the match I was so tight that my arm felt like 10 kilos. I felt sorry for Tim because of all the pressure he has been put through, but this was destiny. God wants me to win. He sent the rain on Friday,” he said.

Republic of Ireland v Mexico – Orlando, 1994

June 24, 1994. You didn’t think we’d let this one slip without blaming the weather for us bowing out of a major tournament, do you?

We Irish are not a nation of tanners, we’ll be honest. As such, it’s no shock to anyone that we struggled with heat of Florida in 1994.

As we readied ourselves to take on the might of Mexico in the Citrus Bowl, there would be only one winner.

After an opening day demolition of Italy in East Rutherford, the World Champions-elect were undone by the heat, as poor Tommy Coyne got heatstroke and half the squad were fit to pass out.

Had we gone on and won that day, we’d have faced Bulgaria instead of the Netherlands in our quest for world domination.

Brazilian Grand Prix – 2016

Nobody wants to see Grand Prix begin behind a safety car. Given the nature of ticket prices in Brazil, too – everyone felt ripped off as they’d forked out a tonne of cash to see the world’s best drivers.

However, by the end of the spectacle, they’d be able to claim they were present for one of the best feats of bravery and skill you could ever wish to see on an F1 track.

Max Verstappen was 19 years of age during this event and entered the final fifteen laps in sixteenth place. Conditions were appalling; visibility was poor and tyre changes were frequent.

Despite the obvious hindrances, we carved his way through the field to secure himself a podium finish in one of the most incredible F1 performances in recent memory.

John Terry – Moscow, 2008

There isn’t a non-Chelsea fan in the world that doesn’t find this hilarious. All the build-up before the game was that the pitch would be difficult to negotiate because of dead patches and a generally poor surface.

However, because of the rain – we like to conclude to the world and its overlords are firmly against John Terry because, well – he’s John Terry.

As it turned out, the final itself wasn’t too bad. We saw Ronaldo score one of his 6,000 goals in Europe, and Frankie Lampard netted one of the luckiest Champions League equalisers of all time.

However, this will always be known as John Terry’s defining moment. You know things are bad when the losers of a final are remembered more than the winners – and this was the case as the then-England captain slipped as he ran up to take what would have been the game-winning penalty, only for him to slip on a spot that had been made uncompromising by the heavy rainfall.

One more time, you say? No problem.

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