Thirty five years ago today, a young Australian started a trend that continues to amuse, and occasionally offend, sports fans around the world. For on March 16, 1974, the first sports streaker made his debut at the England-Wales rugby match. It also provided one of the iconic pictures in all of sports (at right) with the British policeman using his helmet to cover up the modesty of one Michael O’Brien, an Australian trainee accountant, who gave his performance at half-time to–you guessed it–win a bet.
O’Brien now claims that once he pulled his clothes off it was all a blank, but then also admits that the police allowed him to touch a railing at the opposite end of the field to win the bet. At that point he was escorted off the field by the officers, was jailed and eventually fined . . . the exact amount he won in the bet.
The photo, of course, has become a classic over the years.
No word on the fate of the officer’s helmet. (Scrum.com
I remember seeing the photo for the first time in the spring of 1974 while watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He was doing one of his “bits” that involved showing pictures from the news under the idea that they were promotional photos for new fall TV shows. When this one popped up, he claimed it was for a show called “A Hatful of Ralph” and that joke got one of the biggest laughs I ever recall seeeing on the show. Anyone else remember that bit?