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Winning streaks

Written By venus on Saturday, March 16, 2013 | 10:59 PM

Streaking has existed as long as men wore clothes and wanted to make a scene in public by not wearing them. The first recorded instance of streaking dates occurred on July 5, 1799, when a man accepted a wager to run naked in London, from Cornhill to Cheapside. In the United States, a student at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) ran through Lexington, Virginia, in 1804. The student, George William Crump, later became a U.S. congressman.

The first streaker at a major sporting event also produced the most famous streaking photo ever. In February 1974, Michael O'Brien accepted a wager to run naked through a rugby match between England and France at Twickenham. About 48,000 spectators saw his antic, and he was fined 10 pounds, the exact same amount in the bet. Photographer Ian Bradshaw caught the event on camera, and his picture became Life magazine's "Picture of the Year," which is quite remarkable since the competition included Richard Nixon's iconic wave from the White House helicopter following his resignation as president during the Watergate scandal. The photo later made People magazine's "Picture of the Decade," though People missed the first three years of the decade since it didn't begin publishing until early 1974.

O'Brien, the streaker, is now a respectable businessman in Melbourne, Australia. In a 2006 interview he said he doesn't condone streaking and regrets starting the trend.

Fortunately few streakers have taken his advice (or heard about it), for the practice of running nude through sporting events is now common in Europe. Thankfully we'll have many more photos to look forward to.

At a cricket match in Australia

A rugby streaker in New Zealand


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