The worst weather in sport

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Frank Dancevic of Canada lies on the court after collapsing during his first round match against Benoit Paire of France as temperatures topped at 43 C (108 F). Photo / AP
Frank Dancevic of Canada lies on the court after collapsing during his first round match against Benoit Paire of France as temperatures topped at 43 C (108 F). Photo / AP

Scorching heat in Melbourne has wreaked havoc at this year's Australian Open with players fainting, puking and hallucinating in the first week of the competition.

Temperatures soared to 42 degrees Celcius yesterday and many seasoned professionals simply could not cope. In weather unfit for bathing by the pool, let alone top level tennis, organisers have refused to halt play or close the roofs and the results have been devastating.

• Canadian star Frank Dancevic collapsed during the second set of his match, lying unconscious on the court for a full minute. Dancevic says he was hallucinating before he fainted, and thought he saw a cartoon character: "I was dizzy from the middle of the first set and then I saw Snoopy and I thought, 'Wow Snoopy, that's weird.'"
• Yaroslava Shvedova had to be covered in ice towels between the sets of her match.
• Caroline Wozniacki placed her water bottle on the ground and the bottom of it melted.
• Peng Shuai vomited and then cramped up before she was helped off the court.
• The soles of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's sneakers melted.
• Jelena Jankovic burned her bottom on a seat.
This ball boy fainted.

Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan receives treatment by trainers during her first round match against Sloane Stephens of the U.S. at the Australian Open. Photo / AP
Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan receives treatment by trainers during her first round match against Sloane Stephens of the U.S. at the Australian Open. Photo / AP

If the forecast of four consecutive days of 40-plus degrees Celsius (104-plus degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures in Melbourne proves correct, it will be the worst heat wave in the city in more than a century.

Frank Dancevic of Canada applies an ice pack to his head after collapsing during his first round match against Benoit Paire of France as temperatures topped at 43 C (108 F). Photo / AP
Frank Dancevic of Canada applies an ice pack to his head after collapsing during his first round match against Benoit Paire of France as temperatures topped at 43 C (108 F). Photo / AP

But is it the most extreme weather to hit a sporting event?

Nzherald.co.nz takes a look at some other contenders.

'The Ice Bowl'

One of the most famous NFL games, not just for the action on the field but for the frozen setting. Dubbed the Ice Bowl, the 1967 NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay's Lambeau Field was lucky to even go ahead - and probably shouldn't have been allowed to.

The game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was about -26 C, with an average wind chill around -44 C. The field was covered in ice after the turf-heating system malfunctioned and only got worse as the day got colder.

One member of Green Bay players had to hitchhike to the game when his car didn't start. The marching band which was to perform had to cancel after members kept getting their lips struck to their instruments (referees has similar issues with their whistles and ditched them) before several band members went to hospital with hypothermia. One elderly fan died due to exposure.

Still the game went on as two of the greatest coaches in the history of NFL - Tom Landry for the Cowboys and Vince Lombardi for the Packers - went head to head. The Packers ended up winning the famous encounter 21-17 after a late running touchdown to quarterback Bart Starr with the temps reaching around -29 C.

The Packers went on to win Super Bowl II a fortnight later.

Tuck Rule Game - aka Snow Bowl

Another famous NFL game played in extreme cold conditions - but unlike the Ice Bowl the 2001 AFC divisional playoff between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders had snow.

The entire Foxboro Stadium field was blanketed in snow with the 10 yardage-lines needing to be brushed clear throughout the match. But it's not the conditions that makes the game so memorable but instead a famous call when Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady looked to fumble the ball while attempting a throw with his side down 13-10 late in the game.

The referees conferred after Oakland gained possession which would have put the Raiders in a position to run out the clock and win the game. But it was judged that Brady was in the action of completing a pass - not tucking the ball in - which made the play an in-completion not a fumble. A few plays later Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri sent the game into overtime and then kicked the match-winner in OT as the home side celebrated the win by making snow angels on the field.

The patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Champions a week later before winning Super Bowl XXXVI over the St Louis Rams with another late Vinatieri field goal.

1994 World Cup
The United States was hit by a heat wave during the first two weeks of the 1994 World Cup in mid-June.

Particularly affected were games in Dallas, Orlando and Pasadena with several matches played in heat exceeding 44 degrees Celcius.

Bebeto of Brazil receives water during the World Cup match against Holland. Photo / Getty Images.
Bebeto of Brazil receives water during the World Cup match against Holland. Photo / Getty Images.

Ireland struggled the most in their group games and coach Jack Charlton was the loudest voice of dissent. He demanded more water breaks during games for his players and reached boiling point after being reprimanded for throwing water onto the field in a match against Mexico. European fans complained loudly about the heat, but the reason the games were played in the mid-afternoon sun was so that they would be in prime time for European television.

The windy Basin Reserve

The famous Wellington wind has for a long time helped and hindered bowlers but it has often played into the hands of the home side (though Shoaib Akhtar used it to his full advantage in 2003).

John Wright made his test debut at the Basin against England in 1978 and should have been dismissed for a royal golden duck after edging the first ball from Bob Willis to English keeper Bob Taylor. Instead the umpire didn't hear the edge and the former Black Caps coach was given a reprieve. He went on to make 55, batting the entire day, but was heavily sledged by Willis for most of his innings. The Wellington wind also aided current skipper Brendon McCullum in 2010. Well on his way to an eventual and otherwise excellent test century against Australia, he was palpably lbw to Nathan Hauritz. But when Australia went to review, they were told the wind had affected the stability of the cameras.

The wind also played a part in the 1971 Chatham Cup final between local sides Wellington City and Western Suburbs when the Suburbs' goalkeeper sent a goal kick past his own penalty box before it returned flight back towards him. He was forced to make a save off his own goal kick sending the ball out for a corner.

Lake Eden

Scotland got a taste of Auckland's sub-tropical weather when they faced the All Blacks at 'Lake Eden' in 1975.

After two days of relentless rain the poorly drained Eden Park turf was deep underwater, but Scotland's first test against New Zealand somehow still went ahead.

With water 10" deep in some parts, the All Blacks still managed to run in three tries to win the 'water-polo test' 24-0.

Do you know of any professional or grassroots matches that should be on this list? Post your comments below.

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