10 national anthem blunders at sporting events

National anthem mishaps are not at all rare at sporting events. Source: Vladimir Vyatkni / RIA Novosti

National anthem mishaps are not at all rare at sporting events. Source: Vladimir Vyatkni / RIA Novosti

Vladimir Vyatkin/RIA Novosti
After the organizers of two separate World Championship events played the wrong Russian national anthem on the same day, RBTH presents a pick of musical blunders at official ceremonies of various sporting events – many involving Russia.

The organizers of two separate World Championship events recently managed to bungle the Russian national anthem on the same day. On Sept. 7, during the medal ceremony for Roman Vlasov, who won the Greco-Roman wrestling world title in Las Vegas, organizers played Mikhail Glinka’s “Patriotic Song,” which had served as Russia’s anthem from 1990 to 2000. Vlasov refused to leave the podium until the correct anthem by Alexander Alexanrov was played.

Source: YouTube / Our Generation

Glinka’s music was also played twice at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, during Russian gymnast Margarita Mamun’s ceremony for winning the hoop. Eventually, Russian fans just went ahead and sang their anthem a capella.


Glinka on ice

In fact, national anthem mishaps are not at all rare at sporting events. In January 2015, during the medal ceremony for Russia’s U18 women’s ice hockey team, which won bronze at the World Championships in Buffalo, NY, Glinka’s old anthem was played. Organizers did not manage to promptly find a recording of the correct anthem, but Russian athletes rose to the occasion by performing it a capella.

Source: YouTube / Politichesky kanal

A month later, Russian Denis Yuskov won the men’s 1,500 m at the world single distance speed skating championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands, taking over a second off the track record. The athlete had to be honored twice, once to the ubiquitous “Patriotic Song,” and another to the modern Russian national anthem.


Out of sync

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the Hungarian national team appealed to the organizing committee to replace the recording of the country’s national anthem as performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which was played after Aron Szilagyi won gold in men’s individual sabre. The Hungarians did not like the version, saying it contained numerous errors and was out of sync with its traditionally slow and melodic pacing. The recording was subsequently changed.

Dangerous confusion

 At the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in China, Ukrainian Oleg Vernyayev heard an unfamiliar tune being performed instead of his country’s national anthem during his winning ceremony. It turned out later that the organizers had somehow played the anthem of Uzbekistan for the athlete.

Source: YouTube / Farruh Muhiddinov

Another blunder was made at the 2015 Sambo Youth and Juniors European Championships in Serbia, when Azerbaijani Kamran Askerov was honored with the national anthem of Armenia, of all countries (Armenia–Azerbaijan relations are very strenuous due to the conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region – in fact, the nations are technically still at war with each other). The athlete withstood this final trial, but it almost caused a full-scale international incident.

Source: YouTube / Sweet Video

In 2013, during the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Ukraine, Ukrainian Anna Rizatdinova had the national anthem of Russia played at her winning ceremony.

Source: YouTube / Koko Yumarko

Amusingly, the gymnast even sang the first couple of lines.


Borat and Ricky Martin

But perhaps the funniest incidents have involved Kazakh athletes. The organizers of the 2012 Amir of Kuwait International Shooting Grand Prix played the spoof national anthem of Kazakhstan from the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan instead of the real one.

Source: YouTube / newsaddict962

Another awkward situation occurred during a regional skiing event in the Kazakh city of Kostanai, when Ricky Martin’s famous song Livin’ la Vida Loca was played instead of the national anthem during the award ceremony.

Source: YouTube / GeopoliticsofEurasia

Upon hearing the music, the governor of Kostanai region and other participants of the ceremony put their right hands on their hearts. It took the organizers about 20 seconds to notice something was wrong.

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