North Korea players were introduced on large screens alongside the South Korea flag of their bitter enemies.
North Korea players were introduced on large screens alongside the South Korea flag of their bitter enemies. (James Crossan)

Members of the North Korean women's football team stormed off the field before their first match at the Olympics, when their faces were shown next to the South Korea flag on Hampden Park's video screen.

The mistake was seen as a huge embarrassment for Locog, which offered an apology to North Korea for the mistake.

North Korea eventually beat Colombia 2-0, after the game eventually kicked off nearly an hour later than scheduled.

The organisers said: "Clearly this is a mistake. We will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."

Given that North and South Korea are still technically at war, many critics have asked how the person responsible could commit such an obvious error.

The flag mix-up is just the latest in a series of ceremonial errors during recent sporting events.

Apartheid Song Plays for South African Hockey Players

Another mistake involving British organisers occurred in June, just a month before the Olympics, when UK field hockey authorities were forced to offer a "full and unreserved apology" for the airing of an apartheid-era national anthem before a match between Great Britain and South Africa at the London Cup.

The anthem played, entitled "Die Stem" - or "The Call" - served as the country's anthem from 1957 to 1994. It is seen as being closely tied to the apartheid era, and is disliked by black South Africans for its reference to "true Afrikaners" in the lyrics.

"Standard procedure would be to check anthems to be played with visiting teams in advance; however, on this occasion that did not happen and Great Britain Hockey accepts full responsibility," the British authorites later said.

Borat's Fake Kazakhstan National Anthem Played in Kuwait

When Kazakhstan sharpshooter Mariya Dmitrienko won gold during an international shooting competition in Kuwait in 2012, she was surprised to hear that Sacha Baron Cohen's spoof Kazakh national anthem from the 2006 film Borat was played instead of the real anthem.

The phoney hymn contains lyrics boasting of the country's clean prostitutes and superior potassium exports. Dmitrienko surprisingly remained calm throughout the awards ceremony.

Organisers later apologised for the mistake, blaming it on the fact that they downloaded the anthem from the internet.


Euro 2008: Banned Nazi lyrics played to German national anthem

Officials in Switzerland had to apologise after they mistakenly subtitled the German national anthem with war-time lyrics which has been banned since 1945.

The subtitled lyrics, which begin with "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt" or "Germany, Germany above all, above everything in the world," would have been seen in bars and large outdoor screens across Switzerland, according to Swiss tabloid Blick. They were even broadcast on Swiss national channel SF2.

"People couldn't believe their ears. The only people who sing this version are the neo-Nazis. It's completely illegal and very shameful for German people," said a German fan, reported in the Austrian Times.

Swiss TXT, the company that provided the subtitles, apologised and said the error was due to "a lack of knowledge" from the 25-year-old who put the subtitles in place.

Upside-Down Canadian Flag at 1992 World Series

The US Marine Corps took full responsibly for the mistakes (Blue Jay Hunter)
The US Marine Corps took full responsibly for the mistakes (Blue Jay Hunter)

During the second game of the 1992 baseball World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Canadian flag was displayed upside-down by a US marine.

The 1992 World series was the first to be played outside of the US, meaning the incident was seen as a great mark of disrespect. The incident sparked so much controversy that then-president George HW Bush issued two separate apologies to the Canadian people.

Singer Tom Cochrane then stumbled through the Canadian national anthem, getting several lines wrong.

The mistakes didn't affect the Blue Jays, who went on to win the game 5-4.