Greatest Meltdowns in Sport

They say you need to experience failure before you can experience success..

Many of the greats in all sports have suffered melt downs, of course us amateur sports people experience it all the time., but imagine what it’s like to be on the world stage, millions, maybe 100’s of millions of people watching, cheering you on. then suddenly you loose it and crumble.  Millions of people cringe for you, some even change channel cause they can’t watch.  It can be  heart-breaking, excruciating to see a man or woman slowly lose their grip on a childhood dream.   Some people recover and go on to win the major or gram slam of their sport, others remained scarred for life.


Below we have listed some of the most famous melt downs in sport for you to enjoy or cringe at:


Individual sports tend to be better known for meltdowns compared to team sports, and no sport is more prolific with meltdowns than golf!

France’s Jean Van de Velde was one hole from winning golf’s famous Claret Jug at the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland — when it all went horribly wrong.

He was leading by three shots on the last tee, there was no way he could loose this, he could even afford a double-bogey six.  He was just a few shots from being only the second Frenchman ever to win golf’s oldest major after Arnaud Massey in 1907.  What followed became one of the most famous collapses in sport.

The sight of the haunted face of Van de Velde peering out of the Barry Burn with his trousers rolled up above his knees contemplating playing out of the water is a sight forever attached to sporting disaster.  He eventually settled for a soul-crushing triple bogey and a playoff, in which van de Velde and Justin Leonard lost to Paul Lawrie.


Greg Norman, 1996 Masters

At the 1996 Masters, the Shark managed to lose a six-stroke, final-round lead to Nick Faldo

Jordan Spieth stunningly blew his chance to repeat as Masters champion in 2016 with consecutive bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes followed by a quadruple bogey on the par-3 12th turned a five-stroke lead to a three-stroke deficit.

Rory McIlroy was another victim, he famously folded at the 2011 Masters.


Golf and tennis are included in our 5 most mentally challenging sports


Mike Tyson V’s Evander HolyField

At their bout June 28, 1997, Mike Tyson was clearly unable for HolyField’s power and prowess so he resorted to an alternative strategy, he bit both of Evander Holyfield’s ears and was disqualified from their WBA Heavyweight Championship boxing match.  One bite removed a chunk of Holyfield’s right ear.


Jana Novotna, 1993 Wimbledon

Tennis is another one of those mentally challenging sports, where it can all go wrong in a slit second Leading Steffi Graf 4-1, 40-30 in the final set of the 1993 Wimbledon final, Jana Novotna fell apart, losing five straight games €” and the match 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 6-4

John McEnroe – most matches!

“You Cannot Be Serious”!  John McEnroe’s meltdowns were numerous and incandescent, becoming as big a part of his legacy as his superb skill and handful of Grand Slam championships.

Watch Ricky Bobby, Richie Tennanbaum, Happy Gilmore and others have their meltdowns here

Greg Rusedski – Wimbledon

Rusedski was left furious by a second-round defeat to Andy Roddick – specifically, a member of the crowd erroneously calling a ball ‘out’ and the umpire refusing to replay the point.  After an f-word-tirade Rusedski slammed the “w***er in the crowd” before sarcastically telling the match official: “Well done… Well done.”  Having lost the next five games in a row and with it the match, he was fined £1500.


Zinedine Zidane 2008 World Cup Final

In the 2008 World Cup Final, French soccer star Zinedine Zidane, reacting to trash talk by Italy defender Marco Materazzi, headbutted Materazzi in the sternum.

Zidane, France’s best player, received a red card and his team went on to lose the match in a penalty-kick shoot-out.

Horse Racing

Devon Loch – 1965 Grand National

Owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and ridden by Dick Francis, none of the thousands who saw it will easily shake off the memory of Devon Loch’s collapse in front of the royal box today within forty yards and a few seconds of triumph!

If you know a few other greatest meltdowns in sport that we should add, email us at or comment below.

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