The Most Awkward Athlete Wardrobe Malfunctions Ever

Viewers were stunned in March 2022 when ice dancer Karina Manta suffered a wardrobe malfunction during the Dancing on Ice 2022 finals (per the Daily Mail). This was, however, definitely not the first embarrassing sports wardrobe malfunction to have happened, and not even the first for Manta's sport, which is often home to some of the most awkward clothing mishaps. Manta was able to recover in time to keep her modesty, but that is often not the case for ice dancers whose tops go rogue.

It's not just ice dancing, either. Athletes from all kinds of sports have suffered embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions that have left them in various states of undress in front of audiences and, most of the time, cameras. We could have an entire list alone dedicated to rugby players who have popped out of their shorts, on surfers whose waves have left them clinging to their swimsuits, or on wrestlers whose tiny little trunks have been pulled down to expose their rears. But instead, we opted for variety and included a host of sporting situations that would make anyone blush. We also weighed the ungainliness of each individual situation, landing on a list of some of the most uncomfortable public clothing mishaps of all time. Here, in no particular order, are 15 of the most awkward athlete wardrobe malfunctions ever to occur.

Yura Min's outfit comes undone

We are going to start with an ice dancing incident because, as stated in the intro, this sport is notorious for women accidentally exposing themselves. And it is really not a shock that these accidents occur so frequently, given how much skin female ice dancers are expected to show and how absolutely minuscule some of their outfits are. We also can't think of a worse place for a wardrobe malfunction to happen than at the Olympics, a global event with gigantic viewership, but that is exactly where Yura Min had her mishap in 2018.

Min, an American citizen with Korean roots, was competing in the South Korean team event at the 2018 Olympics when her entire outfit came undone. The whole thing was being kept together by only one hook, according to USA Today, so when that snapped, Min was left completely unsecured. "I went from the beginning to the end. I didn't stop because you get a deduction if you stop in the middle of a program. In my head, I was thinking, 'Is it better to stop and fix it and get the deduction or keep going?'" Min said in an interview with USA Today. Somehow, she was able to keep the front of her top on her body throughout her entire program, which is something her peers have not always been able to do.

Gabriella Papadakis has a nip slip

Here is another case of an ice dancer's Olympic wardrobe issue, but one that ended a little more poorly for skater Gabriella Papadakis, who ended up flashing the world. As her partner, Guillaume Cizerone, spun her around on the ice, he accidentally unclipped her top (per the BBC). This caused her nipple to become exposed, and it happened rather early in the routine. "It was pretty distracting," Papadakis told the BBC. "My worst nightmare at the Olympics. I told myself 'you have to keep going'. That's what we did, and we have to be proud of ourselves, delivering a great performance with that happening."

Papadakis' costume issue happened at the same Olympics as Yura Min's, so there must have been something in the air at those games in Pyeongchang. Still, most would agree that Papadakis had it worse, given that she ended up exposing herself, and especially because many outlets ran uncensored photos of the incident. She still won a silver medal, but who knows what could have happened if she had been able to focus 100% on the skating. "It's just frustrating to miss a few points just because of a costume issue," Cizeron is quoted as saying in The Mirror, which is one of the newspapers that published photos of Papadakis' nip slip without censoring it.

Ekaterina Rubleva twirls her top off

This is the final ice dancer on our list, we promise, but it would be hard to discuss the most awkward outfit mishaps and not mention Ekaterina Rubleva, whose entire breast was left hanging out on the ice. The Russian skater was competing, alongside her partner Ivan Shefer, at the 2009 European championships, which were that year held in Helsinki, Finland. Like we have seen so many times before, Rubleva's wardrobe malfunction occurred in the middle of a twirl. As Shefer spun her around, her backless dress began to lower. And lower. And lower.

By the end of her twirl, Rubleva's whole boob was out — something that was no doubt exacerbated by her need to put her arms up in the air as she skated. She then had to keep smiling as she skated with her right breast completely exposed for the world to see. News outlets like the Daily Mail published photos of the incident, extending the life and reach of the accident. It has been nearly a decade and a half since Rubleva's dress failed her, but we have seen little progression in terms of the way that female ice skaters are expected to dress when they compete. In comparison, male skaters almost always have full sleeves, a full back, and no cutouts, let alone tiny clasps and strings connecting vital clothing components.

Daniel Bryan's junk pops out

There have been many, many wrestling costume mishaps over the years, but they are generally rather tame. Sure, a lot of men have had their bottoms unexpectedly exposed in the ring — most often when someone grabs at them, gets a fistful of trunks, and pulls them down — but there have been just as many purposeful butts shown during wrestling matches that it all seems rather uneventful. Fewer instances have seen a wrestler's front side exposed, but it has happened more than once in professional wrestling's history. Daniel Bryan is one such victim of the dreaded wardrobe malfunction, and he made quite an impression when he was exposed during a PPV television event in 2020.

Bryan is a WWE star (real name: Brian Danielson) who is known for being both a superstar athlete and also for being married to one of the Bella twins (who, of course, have their own reality show on which Bryan appears). He has been a wrestler for decades, so he has wrestled hundreds of times, but his 2020 match at the Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center, opposite Drew Gulak, no doubt has to be one embedded in his brain. During the match, as Bryan threw his opponent over the ropes, Gulak grabbed his trunks and tried to take them with him. In the process, he shifted them so much that Bryan's crown jewels became exposed. To add to the embarrassment, there was a second exposure later during the same match (per TMZ).

Blake Shinn gives a full moon

Professional athletes often have such taut bodies that we don't know why they don't walk around nude all of the time. That's why ESPN's Body Issue was so popular for so many years, after all. But even those who are comfortable being nude probably want to be able to choose when and where that happens, and we have to venture a guess that the middle of a sporting event is not the ideal place. That is likely especially true when you are a jockey, like Blake Shinn, since your butt is literally up in the air for much of the time you're competing.

Shinn's embarrassing mishap occurred while he rode a horse named Miss Royale at the Canterbury track, during the day's opening race. Early into the race, his pants fell down, leaving his bum in the air. "I was more worried about winning the race. They [the pants] went just after the start and there was nothing I could do," Shinn told The Sydney Morning Herald at the time. "I think a lot of people are going to have a bit of fun with this, but they can't say I wasn't focused and went to the line." Though the malfunction happened back in 2015, it lives on in media coverage and, in particular, on YouTube, where the video has over 1.7 million views.

Henrik Harlaut loses his pants

When you are competing in a sport in the snow, you are wearing layers upon layers upon layers. This means that even the most devastating wardrobe malfunction is unlikely to leave you naked, so you already have a one-up on the gymnasts, ice dancers, and volleyball players of the world. Henrik Harlaut losing his pants did not lead to us seeing his peen, but it did receive international attention and make him look silly, which is why it landed on our list. Plus, the photos are quite funny.

It all happened when the Swedish skier participated in a qualifying round for the men's ski slopestyle event at the Sochi Olympics back in 2014. His pants fell down mid-air, causing him to land in a nasty fall with his bright blue undergear showing. We think they were boxer briefs, but whatever they were, they did not stop Harlaut from smiling as he finished his ski. We wonder if he was still smiling when NBC News chose to run the photos, with the headline "Pants Down: Skier Suffers Wardrobe Malfunction." He didn't medal, and it is very possible that his free-falling pants were part of the reason why.

Chris Jones should have worn tights

For most of the athletes on this list, the extent of their exposure was a breast or a bare bum — but for Chris Jones, a whole lot more was showing when he suffered what can only be described as a wardrobe accident. The Kansas City Chiefs player was participating in the 2016 NFL combine when he suffered a very unfortunate mishap during the 40m dash. Somehow, his whole package — meat and potatoes, if you will — fell out of his running shorts, causing him to plunge to the ground, but not before it was captured on camera and spread around the Internet.

In 2017, Jones made a passionate plea to other players when he spoke to TMZ Sports before that year's combine. "Please wear tights," he said. "You don't wanna have that type of moment on your resume ... I think more people remember me from running with my c**k out than my bench press." Wise words, given that Jones himself was wearing boxers instead of tights, but he also told TMZ Sports he would "do it in the same way" all over again if given the chance. Jones' incident reminds us of Slovakian marathoner Jozef Urban, who is notoriously plastered all over the Internet because of a similar malfunction, wherein his junk became exposed toward the end of his run. Go for the tights, boys!

Sergei Ponomarenko bursts out of his shirt

Compared to the other wardrobe malfunctions on our list, this one is tame, in that no private parts were exposed and there was very little fanfare about the incident. It happened in 1984, so the media was less all-encompassing as it is now. But even then, bursting out of one's shirt in the middle of a skate — at the Olympics, no less — can't feel good, and awkward is an appropriate descriptor of the incident that left skater Sergei Ponomarenko's belly and underwear hanging out on the international stage.

The Soviet ice dancer was competing in the 1984 Olympic Games, held that year in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, when his costume split wide open during a skate. When the mishap happened, he and his partner, Marina Klimova, had already won the bronze medal, per NBC Sports, and were only skating in an exhibition, but we can imagine Ponomarenko was none too pleased anyhow. "But you know something, it's always seemed kind of difficult to get into skating, and you can have some embarrassing moments, and I think we see one here," commentator Dick Button can be heard saying on voiceover, as Ponomarenko continues to skate with his hairy belly and the top of his white undies on full display.

Ricky Berens gets cheeky

Most male swimmers choose speedos because, for whatever they lack in modesty, they are great for speed in the water. Occasionally, a male swimmer will choose to wear a bodysuit, similar to what females wear when competing, which is what Ricky Berens did when he competed in the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome, Italy. It was during a 4x100m relay qualifier round that Berens' tore his suit just as he stepped up to the starting line. And when his suit split down the middle, from his back all the way down to his buttocks and through to the front, he was left flashing everyone — all because of a simple stretch.

"I kind of freaked out for just a second," Berens said at the time (per HuffPost). "I felt like [the hole] was almost down to my knees. I felt like I was putting on a pretty good show." Fans were not exactly complaining — if you have seen the photos, they are not unpleasant — but Berens was a super young college student who had to have felt awkward about the incident. In 2013, he called it his most embarrassing moment, and he said that the suit was so tight that it took 30 minutes to get it on (per SwimSwam). Funny how it took not even 30 seconds for it to crack (pun intended) all the way open.

Flavia Zoccari's swimsuit disqualifies her

Injuries aside, few things seem as devastating for a professional athlete than a wardrobe malfunction that might derail their performance and/or leave them exposed in front of an audience. But Flavia Zoccari's case is worse than usual, in that her clothing mishap occurred before her competition and was so bad that she could no longer swim. With no time to find a fix, Zoccari was then disqualified from competing which, for a professional swimmer, is assumingely even worse than flashing your cheeks to the world.

The Italian swimmer was competing in the 200m event at the 2009 Mediterranean games when her suit ripped, exposing her bottom. According to the Daily Mail, the suit she was wearing was reportedly at one point banned by the International Swimming Federation, so it could not have been that much of a shock, but we still ache for her. Zoccari nearly immediately started crying, while at the same time trying to cover herself with her hand. The whole point of the "Jaked" suit is to increase buoyancy, but we are assuming the distinguished swimmer wishes she had made a different choice.

Gillian Cooke splits her spandex

Lest you think that only swimmer's split their suits right up the back, we wanted to include bobsledder Gillain Cooke on our list of awkward athletic wardrobe malfunctions. Cooke is a distinguished British athlete who is known for both bobsledding and, to a lesser degree, track and field, and who has competed in the Olympics. Even more than that, she is known for the YouTube clip where her bare butt is out in full view for all to see.

The embarrassing event happened during a 2010 race in St. Moritz, Switzerland, but it is still talked about today. As she bent over to do a simple stretch before jumping into her bobsled, Cooke's lyrca suit split wide open — and since she was wearing a g-string, little was left to the imagination. For what it's worth, Cooke has a great sense of humor about it. "It's a good way to break the ice, especially with new team-mates — it always gets a laugh," she once told The Sun. "I'm just so grateful I was wearing underwear that day."

Rob Gronkowski's butt hits a dude's face

Rob Gronkowski — or Gronk, as you may know him — is such a "bro" that he probably could care less that he flashed his butt on television. Actually, we are pretty sure about it, given that he has posed nude for ESPN's Body Issue and for a GQ photo shoot, putting his entire rear end on display. This particular incident makes our list not just because a sliver or crack was exposed, but because of what happened right after — something that can only be described as awkward.

A butt in football is not a huge deal, as many players — from Devin Hester to Tyson Jackson — have had their tights pulled down on the field. The Gronk situation was different, however, because as soon as his buttocks were exposed, a player from the opposing team landed face first in between those cheeks. And, sure, Baltimore Ravens player Rashaan Melvin was able to tackle Gronk, but that could not have been a pleasant takedown for either of them. That said, the whole thing was nowhere near as awkward as the time that Gronk accidentally flashed reporters inside a locker room (via Instinct).

Carmella's top breaks in the ring

Given that professional wrestling has traditionally made its male athletes dress in skin-tight spandex and/or tiny speedos, it is essentially the one sport where both men and women are expected to show equal amounts of skin. Still, female wrestlers have it even worse because they have more areas to worry about in terms of possible exposure in the ring. It is not surprising, then, that multiple female wrestlers have suffered notable wardrobe malfunctions over the years, much like their male counterparts (except with far more rehashing and reposting of the incidents).

One athlete who has experienced a clothing calamity is Carmella (real name: Leah Van Dale), a WWE champion who has been with the organization for nearly a decade. It was during a live event — the Rolling Loud festival in Louisville, Kentucky — that Carmella's top burst open, though she was miraculously able to keep her breasts from showing for the rest of the match. In fact, the star was praised for how she handled the incident, with Metro even saying she dealt with the "wardrobe malfunction like a pro." After the match, Carmella hilariously tweeted "ya'll wish" with a picture of a bathing suit, which is essentially what she was wearing in the ring.

Charlotte Flair flashes WrestleMania

Like Carmella, wrestler Charlotte Flair suffered an awkward wardrobe malfunction in the ring. Unlike her peer, however, Flair's shirt did not come undone so much as she simply popped out of it. It happened in April 2022, at WrestleMania 38, when Flair was fighting icon Rhonda Rousey. According to the New York Post, the screen temporarily went black so that Flair could fix her shirt, but not before eagle-eyed fans took screenshots, which they then shared online. Flair still won the match despite the boobie blunder, though wrestling wins are predetermined anyway (per Bleacher Report).

If the name "Flair" seems familiar, it is because Charlotte Flair is the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair. And knowing that Ric was in the audience when Charlotte's breast fell out of her blue top shoots the awkward level up to a 10 ("top" may also be stretching things a little, since the costume was more bikini and less shirt). Flair posted an Instagram photo of her holding her championship belt after her win, and though she did not explicitly mention the clothing mishap, she captured the image with "at all costs" — which may have been an indirect reference.

Alvaro Marin flashes buns as he takes on a bull

Chances are that when someone mentions athletics, your brain's first stop is not bullfighting. That said, it is a sport that clearly takes tremendous skill, a plethora of bravado, and a risk-taking attitude. After all, how many of us everyday citizens would ever even attempt to go toe-to-toe with a wild animal, let alone one with horns and major attitude problems? Of all the risks associated with bullfighting, wardrobe issues seem pretty far down the list, too, but that does not mean that it can't happen or that it is not awkward when it does.

Take Alvaro Marin, for example. According to HuffPost, Marin's mishap occurred during a bullfight to mark the Day of the Dead, which is a holiday that originated in Mexico and is meant to honor those who have passed. The Colombian bullfighter made international headlines when his trousers tore during the fight, exposing his buns to the air. He tried to cover up a bit, though dodging the still-angry bull obviously took precedent over covering his cheeks. Marin was eventually handed a piece of material, which he fashioned almost like a diaper, and when that stopped working, his handlers gave him a pair of flowered swim shorts to cover up.