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Just can’t bear it: Asian black bear tries to steal gold at Japan Olympics

July 21, 2021

Just can’t bear it: Asian black bear tries to steal gold at Japan Olympics

Australia’s Olympic softball team suffered a tragic loss in the first official event of the 2021 games, but outside the stadium all eyes were glued on an adventurous bear who’d come to support his country.

Australia’s Olympic softball team suffered a tragic loss in the first official event of the 2021 games, but outside the stadium all eyes were glued on an adventurous bear who’d come to support his country.

As the game unfolded to a mostly-empty stadium, an Asian black bear endeavoured to make its way into the stadium – presumably to join the 50 spectators cheering on their teams in the 30,000-capacity venue. 

The bear – who is not believed to have had a valid ticket to the event – did not succeed in jumping the fence, and was instead reported to have wandered off into the backstreets of Fukushima.

The sighting triggered a bear hunt, with Olympic guards and local authorities reportedly using fireworks and loud music as part of a broader strategy to drive the animal from the city.

It’s not the first time animals have stolen headlines during major international sporting events, however. 

Eight arms, seven correct bets, one massive payout

In 2010, a German octopus named Paul became a global sensation after correctly predicting which team would win in seven of Germany’s games at the FIFA World Cup.

Prior to a game, Paul was presented with two boxes containing mussels. One box bore the German flag, while the other carried the flag of Germany’s rival in the upcoming match – Paul’s tips were based on which flag the octopus chose to open.

Bookmaker William Hill reported at the time punters betting on Paul’s predictions had collectively earned up to half a million pounds – £6,556,298.90, or AU $12,208,090.80 in today’s currency.

Paul eventually ‘predicted’ Spain would emerge from the tournament as its ultimate victor – a guess which eventually proved correct – and the cephalopod was made an honorary citizen of a Spanish town, amid calls for him to be relocated to a zoo in Madrid.

2014 tournament invites Panda-monium

Prior to the kick-off of 2014’s FIFA World Cup, a panda research facility in China tried to replicate Paul’s success.

The Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre in Sichuan arranged for a group of baby pandas to bet on the outcome of games using a range of systems, including choosing food and climbing trees.

Sadly, the adorable betting syndicate was stopped before they started when Chinese authorities stepped in to prevent the research centre proceeding out of concern the young animals would be upset by the attention from humans.

Show me the money, spider

Punters don’t just rely on animal oracles to pick the outcomes of sports matches, either. In 2005, a group of workers from Campbellfield won the Tattslotto with the help of an unlikely arachnid assistant.

The group dipped a money spider into ink, then let the eight-legged gambler wander across a blank tattslotto ticket and selected the numbers it walked across.

The money spider reportedly lived up to its name.

 

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