Are you more of a fair-weather athlete or do you relish the mud? Either way, you’d struggle to cope in these conditions. Here are some of the times when sport almost conceded defeat to the elements:
- Water battle of Frankfurt
- Ukrainian storms
- Snow chaos of Colorado
- “Ice Bowl”
- “Fog Bowl”
- Special extra: The San Antonio Sauna
Snow chaos of Colorado
A clever move by the United States. For a World Cup qualifying game against Costa Rica in 2013, the Americans decided to send their normally heat-drenched guests into the icy cold of Colorado. But even that wasn’t enough, as massive snowfall had turned the place into a winter wonderland. The match went ahead anyway and the combative Americans won 1-0 while Costa Rica felt they’d been pranked.
Water battle of Frankfurt
On their way to winning the World Cup in 1974, the German team needed at least a draw in the decisive group match against Poland. Fortunately for the eventual champions, the weather gods were on Germany’s side. A downpour shortly before kick-off made parts of the pitch almost unplayable. For the technically strong Poland, it was an enormous disadvantage. The great Gerd Müller scored the only goal as goalkeeper Sepp Maier and several puddles kept Poland at bay.
Huge amounts of rain poured down on the heads of the Ukrainian and French players at the European Championship in 2012. After just five minutes the referee had to interrupt the game as the watching crowd fled the storm to take shelter beneath the stands. It took an hour before both teams could continue the match and France went on to win 2-0 against the co-hosts.
The “Ice Bowl”
Drastically freezing temperatures created the term “Ice Bowl” on December 31st, 1967. The thermometer at Lambeau Field measured minus 25 degrees in the NFL championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. Frozen condensation had turned the pitch into a single icy surface and the soil heating had given up the ghost. Even the referee got chills as the whistle froze to his lips and had to be ripped away. He stayed on the field though and persisted through by painfully shouting his instructions.
The “Fog Bowl”
Exactly 21 years later Mother Nature struck again in Philadelphia. The first half of the game between the Eagles and Chicago Bears took place in bright sunshine; the second half was dominated by a huge layer of cloud over the stadium. The visibility for players and officials was nil and even the television commentator was unable to see anything: “Somewhere down there is a ball”. The New York Times later wrote of “the best game that no one has seen”.
Special extra: The San Antonio sauna
Unlike the NHL, the NBA still play all their games in closed arenas. Even there, the weather can have a huge impact. Before game one of the NBA final series in 2014 in San Antonio, the air conditioning system of the AT&T Center failed completely. In the Texas heat, the temperature rose above 32 degrees Celsius. Miami star LeBron James was eventually forced to leave the court plagued by cramp but the Spurs kept a cool head, winning game one and eventually the final series.