Photos Of Incredible Athleticism, Taken At Exactly The Wrong Moment

Playing sports or merely watching people play sports gives us excitement that lifts our souls. It’s a great escape from a stressful workday. Many people experience a feeling of connection to others while watching or participating in sporting games or activities.

Most athletes are known for giving their all every time they play. We watch them playing ferociously in order to win—who wants to end up the loser? But even if they’ve been thoroughly trained, they’re still human and they will always make mistakes. In reality, these mess-ups add to a game’s excitement. We’ve unearthed some of the funniest sports bloopers ever captured on film for your enjoyment.

I Believe I Can Fly

Have you ever marveled at how smoothly divers leap off their diving boards? Countless attempts and mistakes underlie those flawless leaps. On this occasion, what could have been a great shot ended up giving us an insight into the kinds of strange faces divers can make attempting to perform their perfect drop.

We don’t know what transpired on this day, but this diver must have looked at this picture with an equally shocked expression. Despite the rough expression on his face, we hope he had a smooth and painless landing on the water when he landed.

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Is This a New Trend? A Swan Pose

The round red item in the center of this dancer’s arms was one of the first things we noticed when we glanced at the photo. We initially assumed this gymnast had been struck in the face by a ball, but upon closer inspection, we realized she was most likely performing a stunt with her chin.

We hope she pulled off whatever incredible feat of human movement she was going for, but we can’t help wondering what it was. Is it a swan pose? Or is it merely a transitional position? It looks painful. Where did her head go?

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Lift Me Higher

Synchronized swimming is a combination of dance and gymnastics but in the water. Consider how difficult that is to deal with. Swimming is difficult enough if you have to do it for several hours, but it’s twice as hard when you have to pull off a complicated dance move on top of that.

These ladies deserve all the credit they get. Synchronized swimming requires a great level of passion and coordination. They give a great show with their intense performance. However, we have no idea what this woman was thinking as she was being hoisted above the water this way. It might have been something to do with the way she was being lifted, but her facial expression and pose were captured at just the right time.

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Wrestling in Ice

At first glance, you might think this is wrestling. It turns out that it’s actually ice skating. We’ve seen pictures of thousands of professional ice skaters dancing on the ice gracefully. However, we haven’t seen as many pictures of them messing up, nor have we seen as many as funny as this one.

As funny as it looks, it definitely looks painful, going off her expression and his look of terror. We just hope they finished their performance on a good note regardless of that one little flub. Also, the athletes recovered from this without significant injuries.

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Suck Some Air

Breathing is obviously an essential activity. But in sports, it’s a highly refined skill. Athletes, like track runners, need air to sustain their high speed, but their way of breathing ensures that their body gets the most efficient level of oxygen possible. It may not be pretty, but this is what perfect efficiency looks like.

It’s not a great look, but it’s what it takes to get on top of your game. We think the photographer had no intention of taking an image like this, but it simply happened.  In the end, the photographer captured a funny moment that we will remember for the rest of our lives. 

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Figure Skaters' Struggles

Even figure skaters, who we see as graceful and majestic, struggle to perfect their masterpieces. That’s what being a human is all about. Errors and mishaps will always happen when you try to achieve great things. Sometimes, the kind of stunts that figure skaters try to pull off are too tricky, even for the best of the best.

Take, for example, this pair. It’s pretty challenging to perfect this stunt, given that the male skater has to maintain his balance as well as handle his partner’s full weight—but don’t forget—they’re doing all of this on ice. If he makes a wrong move, they will both suffer. Kudos to these skaters for maintaining their professionalism despite their awkward pose.

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A Real-Life Game Face

Most athletes have one thing in commonthey’re all competitive. If you’re not, then why bother competing in the first place? But sometimes, their game faces are quite hilarious to look at. But, don’t let a silly face fool youthey’ll be able to beat you without breaking a sweat.

You may wonder what he’s thinking here, but it’s obvious if you think about it: “ball.” Just look at where his eyes are at and his clenched jaw, and you’ll know we’re talking about. He looks a little bit like a t-rex trying to reach his shoelaces. No matter what happened a microsecond after this was taken, we hope he had a good game.

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Everything Alright Down There?

Yelena Isinbayeva, a former Russian pole-vaulter, is a remarkable athlete. She’s a three-time World Champion, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and a world record holder in her field. She is an amazing woman who motivates and inspires people worldwide.

She is, without a doubt, the best pole-vaulter in the world. If you’ve never seen her in action before, this is a pretty bad introduction. But here, you can see her making an “oopsie” face. She stated that even the most remarkable athletes fall occasionally, and this shot is the best illustration of that.

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Still Breathing?

Staged or real, wrestling is an art that takes years to master and requires an immense amount of physical strength and skill. Wrestlers need to be at the top of their game to win the competition. On the other hand, Referees, being responsible for keeping the game fair and playing by the rules, need sharp wits and catlike agility to follow the action. 

Here, the referee looks like he’s getting a super-close view of the action. You might say that he’s getting too close. The referee was just making sure that the contender was still breathing, but all the same, it looks very odd. You might not like it, but this is what perfectly efficient score-keeping looks like.

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Is This a Shampoo Commercial?

Have you ever wondered why athletes, such as this hockey player here, take their water bottles and pour water over themselves? It’s not some kind of water ritual or anything. It’s to keep cool. Who wouldn’t feel overheated after playing or training so intensely?

But every time these athletes are caught watering themselves like this, it becomes an instant shampoo advertisement. This one player nailed it as his long hair swishes back so beautifully. Even if he managed to cool off, we can imagine some in the audience getting quite heated themselves.

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Head Slam

This skater looks like she’s orchestrating a brutal final move in the final moments of a wrestling match. You can practically hear her partner’s head crunch as it drops to the ice. Ouch! Accidents happen all the time. Even if you know what you’re doing, you’ll still make mistakes, just like this one.

Ice skating seems easy when you’re just watching from the benches, but when you’re out there, you’ll find that it’s not as easy as it looks. Ice skaters have to memorize the steps, execute routines, and maintain their balance—which is not an easy thing to do—making them prone to accidents like this one.

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Shocking Revelation

This woman looks as though she’d just overheard something so surprising that her brain flipped over. Given the complex nature of the sport, she’s probably executing thousands of actions with her body at once, leaving no space to think about her facial expressions. 

That being said, the kick probably didn’t help. Synchronized swimmers have to mirror their movements with each other perfectly, which is an incredibly difficult feat to pull off, but we’re glad the other swimmers weren’t that in sync.

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Kick Like You Mean it

Sepak Takraw, or as it’s sometimes otherwise known, kick volleyball, is a famous game in Southeast Asia. You’ll see kids playing it everywhere. Unlike volleyball, you can’t use your hands when passing the ball, and you need to defy gravity to win this game.

Professional takraw athletes need to do a lot of stretching to avoid injuries. You just need to look at the photo here to witness how bendy and flexible players need to be to play this game. They remind us of how octopuses move their tentacles in the ocean.

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Look at your Back

Baseball is a crazy game. Baseball fans will tell you that it’s the greatest game in the world. We admire how its players are able to hit such a tiny ball, which often, you can’t even see as it’s flying towards you. You almost have to have a sixth sense to read where it’s about to land.

When playing baseball, it’s generally known that you should avoid getting hit by a baseball when at bat. There’s an 80% chance the ball will hit you anywhere else except your bat, just like what happened in this picture. It looks like he knows there’s a ball coming for him—he doesn’t even need to use his eyes.

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Eyes on the Prize

This professional table tennis player right here is giving it his all in order to hit the tiny ball in front of him. His face is full of determination. If you’ve watched a game before, you’d know that this is not the only weird face players pull while playing. You should hear the noises they make, too.

When professionals play, they have mastered the art of rapidly hitting the ball, making it look easy. If we were in their shoes, we’d be spending a majority of the time taking massive swings of the paddle with little success. What these players do is an art form, and it’s an incredible sight to see.

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No Surrender

You might not be able to see it here, but this man is a professional powerlifter. He’s forcing a dizzyingly heavy object above him with a great effort of will. But out of context, all that effort makes him look like he’s eagerly eying down the last slice of pizza.

It’s crazy thinking about how long these weightlifters train their muscles to carry such heavy loads. They have to train their body over the course of years to get to where they want to be, like a finely chiseled rock scultpture.

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Ooh! Can You Do This?

Many often undervalue the work needed to be a synchronized swimmer. The sport is a test of your agility, strength, resolve, and ability to work as part of a team. Pulling off moves in the water is incredibly difficult. Can you imagine how it feels to pull something off under all that pressure? 

We have a picture that might just sum it up nicely. This woman above is giving her all during this performance, and her ferocious facial expression can attest to that. We admire these women for showing the world what a genuine performance is.

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Strike a Pose

This picture was, like many other pictures on this list, taken out of context. The look on her face, half-submerged in water as it is, evokes a melted and haunted look. She’s crossing her arms as if assaulted by a tidal wave of watery ghosts—but in likelihood, she was just coming up for air.

Her face looks like a mask somehow. Her nose pincher is making her nose look unnaturally long, and her fingers look like claws. But with so much detail in each performance, it’s hard not to appreciate the effort these swimmers put into their work.

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Bad Decisions

No one in their right mind would make that face, especially if they were aware of the hundreds of cameras ready to snap their unfortunate expression. He probably didn’t intend to make this bizarre expression at the zenith of his jump, but it happened nonetheless. That’s life.

Divers have to have the guts to jump from pretty high up, as well as the confidence and charisma to make it look graceful. You must have confidence and bravery to do it, but if you make one wrong move, one miscalculation, everything you’ve worked for will be sidelined for a silly picture on a list on the internet. 

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Caught in Slow Motion

If you capture movement in slow motion, you’ll see a lot of things that you can’t see at the average speed. That’s what happened to this guy. When the video was played at normal speed, he cracked like a whip. He looked so cool throwing the ball, but then they found this frame.

You can see the impact of whiplash rippling across his face—forming the kind of facial expression you wouldn’t expect to see. Slow-motion got him big time! He’s doing what it takes, but it doesn’t mean the end result will look so beautiful.

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When The Adrenaline Hits

Powerlifting requires strength of muscle, power, and a lot of guts to lift a heavy weight. But some people will laugh because of the awkward facial expressions they pull. Sometimes, the weights they’re lifting are heavier than their actual weight!

This woman’s facial expression is quite funny, and she looks strangely terrified. She looks as surprised as we are, watching her put all that weight over her head like that. Look at what she’s lifting! The capacity of the human body is amazing.

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Hold Up! Wait a Minute

We don’t mean any offense, but we were crying our eyes out in laughter the first time we saw this picture. It looks like he’s surrendering to a squad of police while trapped in a wind tunnel. Even his toes look like they want to give up. 

It’s incredible to see all the flaps on the human body, even one as pristine as this one, fold in such a strange way. The way he’s squinting is priceless! For this snapshot alone, we’d give him high marks for his dive.

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Feeling Cute?

We’ve seen this face before. It’s the face of a kid caught red-handed with their fingers in the cookie jar. She’s obviously in motion, but it appears as if she’s holding a grimace or awaiting a scalding. Don’t worry, you’re doing great!

All jokes aside, this ice skater is one of the world’s top athletes, and she’s at the top of her game in the field of figure skating. And let’s be real—we’ve all pulled this facial expression. Try sneezing in front of a mirror, or record yourself while sneezing, and you’ll get the same result. But you probably won’t look quite as cute.

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Where's Your Head At?

Ice skating has had its share of unexpected moments, and here’s one of them. Can you see it? This couple is so skilled at skating that they’ve managed to warp space and time during one of their routines. One of them has completely disappeared! Well, almost. 

It looks like her head has reappeared in a most unexpected and unfortunate place. She looks pretty surprised by this, too. He looks bewildered—as if something in his hand just disappeared.  If you look closely, you can see her leg and her back somewhere behind her partner. 

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What a Hit!

There are always things that we can’t control in this world, such as tennis balls heading straight for our chins. You might be having a bad day, but consider what’s about to happen to this tennis player. She was probably caught off guard by a renegade serving.

On the other hand, as a trained athlete, she might be able to save this one even as the ball rockets so close to her face. Her racket is primed and ready to strike. Ouch! We hope she managed to turn this one around in time.

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Say Cheese, No?

Why is there always someone out there who manages to take a photo of you when you least expect it? Like this photo. This woman was putting her all into the competition, but then when she looked up, she saw a camera waiting to capture her expression.

Water can really distort an image. But by the looks of it, she wasn’t amused at seeing a camera in her face. On second thought, she might have been posing. Either way, we hope she enjoyed participating in the competition.

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Is it a Crab or a Frog?

One thing that we always love to see while watching sporting events is the intensity of the crowd and the passion of the athletes. We always admire the level of sportsmanship, and the dedication of each team member as the crowd goes wild to praise them.

But that isn’t the only thing that amazes us. Sometimes, we feel like our eyes are playing tricks on us, but it’s only a testament to the skill of the sport’s contestants. Take a look at these synchronized swimmers and tell us what you see. Do you see feet belonging to frogs or crabs? 

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What Did You Say?

Synchronized swimmers have spectacular moves and poses which delight onlookers and make them cheer with glee. These swimmers look as amazed by their own skill as we are, but they’re probably just out of breath.

At first sight, you may think that synchronized swimming is purely an acrobatic sport, but it is more than that; their performances are physical and mental. Each team member has to work together to get the timing of the stunts exactly right. They practice their routines repeatedly so that they can accomplish their performance flawlessly.

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A Saving Dive

You’re looking at a picture of someone who’s just fallen in defeat. In reality, this fall was a calculated move in a game of incredible agility and skill. The more we look at this picture, the more we admire her posture and passion. Even in such a state, she still has her eyes on the ball.

Or maybe she just took a tumble after pushing herself too far. Even if they are professionals in their field, they are still bound to make errors, just like all of us do from time to time.

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Sports Ball To The Face

When you play sports, especially those that include a ball, you run the risk of being stuck anywhere on your body—especially your face. Soccer is an intense game in which you are constantly being checked, knocked over, kicked, and hit by a high-velocity object.

This Manchester United player was hit in the face by the ball, with painful results. We bet the crowd was emotional after seeing this, having felt his pain. We just hope he recovered soon after and didn’t just lie on the grass in defeat.

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Sharing Is Caring

Basketball requires deft footwork, crazy aim, and a tight grip. It’s a sport bursting with action and energy. In the competition, your instincts get the better of you, and you turn into a dunking machine.

But occasionally, when the photo goes off at just the right moment, it can make you and another player look like two little boys fighting over a ball. What’s most amusing about this photo is their expressions; it’s as if they’re pleading with their mom to settle the argument. Now, now boys!

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The Continuous Woman

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: synchronized swimmers are one-of-a-kind athletes. Some of their moves seem abstract and unfathomable at first glance, but there is a narrative at work. It doesn’t make sense if you look at it piece by piece, but when you look at the entire picture, it forms something quite beautiful.

However, some of their poses look like they came out of nowhere sometimes. Like this photo, we are not sure what they’re doing, but they look like they’re preparing for something. With their taut limb placement and high-strung expressions, it’s no wonder they grabbed everyone’s attention.

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A Slam Dunk Back Onto The Face

Watching a ball hammer through the net is an exciting moment for any crowd. Some players are so skilled that they turn what would otherwise be a routine movement into a flash of divine creation. Most basketball fans look forward to seeing a slam-dunk. But some players are so intent on delivering that they get a little too close to the action.

Imagine pulling off an incredible feat of athleticism, only to have your work smack you back, right in the face. Look at the impact of the ball here—his face got smashed so hard, the sweat is practically exploding off of his head.

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Chaos Follows

Cheerleaders play an essential role during games. They boost the players’ confidence and pride by encouraging the crowd, getting them to cheer on their team. To raise the stakes, they pull off some amazing stunts to entertain the fans too.

Even though cheerleaders practice all the time, mishaps can happen from time to time. This group of cheerleaders was attempting to build a pyramid, but unfortunately they could not accomplish it due to misplaced footing. We hope they managed to patch things up afterward!

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Wrong Target

Whether it was done intentionally or not, this looks brutal. Soccer is a physical game, and players have to expect a level of physicality while they play. While this may be true, there are certain rules which forbid certain actions. We’re not sure if this is covered, but it probably should be.

Would this technically count as being “offside”?  The kick’s receiver looks as if he’s holding out his hands with the look of a martyr. Whether you own a pair or not, anyone would be able to feel this poor guy’s pain. Just look at his expression. Ouch! 

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A New Dance Craze

These two soccer players look like they’re auditioning to become cheerleaders. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that they are in the middle of the game. Plus, this kind of “football” doesn’t even use cheerleaders!  It seems like they were dancing mid-air, but in fact, they were just trying to take possession of the ball.

It also looks as if they’re phasing through each other, somehow bringing a new meaning to the expression “can’t touch this.” We’re not sure what happened, but it’s a lot of fun to look at.

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Forgot to Hit the Break

Cricket, a bat and ball game that originated in England to keep gentlemen occupied between their colonial conquests abroad, now attracts thousands of people to games worldwide. Many people love cricket for its ranking, culture, and shows of skill. 

But just like other sports, mistakes are bound to occur. Look at this man who seems to have forgotten to hit the breaks. It’s painful to look at them. We hope they’re both fine and that they were able to finish the game with no further injuries.

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Boss Lady

Pole vaulting is an Olympic sport in which athletes vault over a high bar like spring-loaded javelins. The vaulter leans back over the bar and then throws the pole forward once they’re up in the air. The easy part is going up; the hard part is getting over the pole. 

Many vaulters look like they’re breaking their back to make it over, but in this case, it looks like it was no problem at all.  If you look deeply into her eyes, you’ll see the gaze of a boss. She seems to be saying, “piece of cake.”

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Not Again!

This photo has so many superb features. The looks on their faces are priceless, especially player number 12. It’s like this sort of thing just happens to him all the time. Everyone else looks a little more surprised, though, especially the guy below him. 

Even funnier, the referee clearly wants to do something, but he’s in awe of the situation. Is it a foul to use a member of your own team as a launchpad, even if you’re being launched from a very unfortunate place. Perhaps this is what they mean by “teamwork.”

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Time for A Quick Ballet Stunt

Basketball, despite its complexity, is a lot of fun to play and watch. Although the game is physically demanding at times, it is a game that brings out the best in people. The sport promotes teamwork in its players and respect from its fans. Win or lose, any match is a thrill to see.

Amid a heated game, you may also witness some players performing some out-of-the-ordinary moves. For example, take a look at this photo: the player here appears to have forgotten where he is mid-air as if suddenly transformed into a ballet dancer. If he ever gets tired of B-ball, we can at least say that he has a bright future in ballet.

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