LONDON (Reuters) - With 80,000 sets of eyes on the world’s best sprinters and an electrically-charged silence hanging heavy inside the Olympic Stadium one ticket holder added to the drama on Sunday by lobbing a bottle towards Usain Bolt.
Hardly the most sensible thing to do, especially when the fan was sitting next to Dutchwoman Edith Bosch, a black belt in judo who won a bronze medal at the Games.
She gave him a slap around the head before he was removed from the stadium and arrested by Metropolitan Police.
Ashley Gill-Webb, 34, pleaded not guilty to a public order offence when he later appeared at Stratford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
He was granted conditional bail and told he would face trial at Thames Magistrates’ Court on September 3.
London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe confirmed on Monday that a “zero tolerance” policy was in place and that any one contemplating a similar act of lunacy would be treated harshly.
“Throwing a bottle on to the field of play is unacceptable, and it’s not just unacceptable at an Olympic Games, it’s unacceptable at any sports venue,” Coe told reporters.
”The guy was removed and anybody that does that in future will be removed. There is zero tolerance to anything like that.
“I am not suggesting vigilantism but it was actually poetic justice that they did happen to be sitting next to a judo player,” Coe added.
A police spokesman said a man had been heard shouting abuse and was then seen throwing a bottle which landed behind the sprinters just after the starter told the runners to “set”.
Luckily the bottle ended up behind the athletes and the show-stopping race went off in style with Bolt retaining his Olympic title in the second fastest time on record.
There have been many notable fan “interventions” at major sporting occasions over the years, ranging from the downright dangerous to the mildly amusing and bemusing.
This year’s annual Oxford v Cambridge rowing race was stopped at halfway by 35-year-old Trenton Oldfield who swam into the path of the boats, narrowly avoiding the swishing oars.
In 2003 former priest Neil Horan, dressed in a kilt, ran across the track at the British Formula One Grand Prix as cars raced towards him at 200mph.
A year later he bundled race leader Vanderlei de Lima off the course at the Olympic Marathon in Athens.
In 1993 James Miller parachuted into the ring as Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe fought for the world heavyweight boxing title at Caesar’s Palace and was promptly beaten up by spectators.
Portuguese footballer Luis Figo had a pig’s head thrown at him when returning to play a match at Barcelona having signed for arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Avril Ormsby, Stephen Mangan, Theo Ruiznaar and Martyn Herman editing by Ed Osmond and Matt Falloon