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Hero image for 1974 Commonwealth Games - Graham May's Face-plant

1974 Commonwealth Games - Graham May's Face-plant

Television (Excerpts) – 1974

This classic sports mishap from the 1974 Commonwealth Games sees weightlifter Graham May fall flat on his face after passing out while holding a 187.5kg barbell over his head. Despite the fall May went on to win gold in the super heavyweight (110kg+) division, and weightlifting gained a local profile due to his and the NZ team's success. The mustachioed Kiwi’s face-plant became a staple of blooper reels worldwide: from the long-running 'It's moments like these …' Minties ad campaign to the title sequence for ABC’s Wide World of Sports on US TV. May died in 2006.

Weightlifting had long been a foreign sport to the majority of New Zealanders. The Commonwealth Games changed all that. The Games in New Zealand gave the sport unprecedented exposure and New Zealanders loved it ... Some [of the crowd] almost became too closely involved when Graham May, the 21-year-old super-heavyweight New Zealander, on his way to his gold medal, passed out with sheer effort and 187.5kg of weights went lumbering off the front of the stage, towards the first row of seats and scattering mere mortals from its path.
– Ron Palenski and Terry Maddaford, The Games: The Pride and drama of New Zealanders at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, Moa Publications, Auckland 1983