When sportspeople get caught short

By Michael Brown

Jerry Collins was captured kneeling and urinating on Lancaster Park before a Tri Nations match with Australia in 2006. File photo / APN
Jerry Collins was captured kneeling and urinating on Lancaster Park before a Tri Nations match with Australia in 2006. File photo / APN

Russell Packer might lay claim to the most expensive tinkle in New Zealand history, but he's far from the first sportsman or woman to be caught short. APNZ's Michael Brown provides some light relief as he looks at five wee issues in sport.

1. Jerry Collins

Jerry Collins once swore on TV when interviewed after a game and was also involved recently in a bizarre knife incident in a Japanese department store. Before all of that, however, the former All Blacks enforcer was captured kneeling and urinating on Lancaster Park before the Tri Nations match with Australia in 2006.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who was then assistant coach, defended Collins' actions saying, "If you're a male and you're about to play a test match and you're seconds away from kick-off and you get the urge to want to go to the toilet what do you do? Do you rush off and let the game start with 14 men? Or do you try to be as discreet as you can be and hope that cameramen use common sense and don't go showing it to everyone on the screen?''

The camera operators, unfortunately for Collins, opted for the latter.

2. Dean Jones

In John Wright's autobiography, Christmas in Rarotonga, he wrote about getting caught short just before lunch during one innings but the most famous occurrence of a cricketer urinating while at the crease was Dean Jones.

The Australian batsman scored a double ton in the historic tied test against India in Chennai in 1986, but it was an innings that threatened his health. Jones was suffering badly by the time he had bout 130 runs and started to vomit, was dehydrated and had pins and needles all over his body as he lost 7kg in the stifling heat.

He then started to urinate involuntarily as his body went into shock. He managed to stay at the crease, thanks to the team physio and some mind games from captain Allan Border, who suggested if Jones couldn't hack it they would "get a real Australian'', but was rushed to hospital at the end of the day's play.

3. Paula Radcliffe

The British tabloids had a field day with this one, with The Sun opting for the headline 'Easy peesy for Paula'. Paula Radcliffe won the 2007 London Marathon, despite veering off the road four miles from the end, squatting and urinating into a gutter.

She complained afterwards of suffering from stomach cramps and decided to relieve herself in public rather than lose time. Viewers, including TV commentators, were unaware what had happened before the pictures were unfortunately re-run. "Without being too indelicate, she doesn't look like she has too many problems where her hamstrings or cramp is concerned,'' BBC pundit Steve Cram joked.

She didn't have too many other problems that day, winning by five minutes and setting a new women's record.

4. Tour de France peloton

Just think about it. Stages on the Tour de France regularly last more than six hours but the race doesn't stop for everyone to take a pit stop. This is done in one of two ways.

The first is often when a prominent rider moves to the front of the bunch and then pulls over for a wee break, which prompts others to follow suit and signals for the peloton not to attack.

The other is to do it while still riding - often a gentle downhill is the easiest time when riders won't lose too much time. Needless to say, other riders would prefer to be at a safe following distance.

5. Michael Phelps

Children around the world pee in the pool, which is one of the reasons why public pools put so many chemicals in the water, but when two of the most decorated Olympians, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, admitted top swimmers do it regularly the world cringed.

"I think everybody pees in the pool,'' Phelps said. "It's kind of a normal thing to do for swimmers. When we're in the water for two hours, we don't really get out to pee. Chlorine kills it so it's not bad.''

Well, that's OK, then.

- APNZ

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