It’s the 20th anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Olympics this week, so what better time to reminisce some of the greatest moments in sporting history? Like, you know, that time a guy sued the Scienceworks after trying to outrun the virtual Cathy Freeman and, uhh, running into a wall.
Back in 2016, Dean Smith severely injured himself after running to a wall while trying to beat Freeman’s 400m gold medal-winning time at Melbourne’s Scienceworks museum.
“All these little things made me think I could beat her, I got a bit competitive, thinking ‘I can take on Cathy Freeman’,” he told Fairfax at the time. “Then when I was 30cm from the wall I saw what was going to stop me.”
As a result of the incident, Smith claims he lost feeling in his arms, hands and fingers, fractures a rib and an occipital bone, fractured one vertebra and crushed another. But if that wasn’t enough, he also claims to have suffered a stroke and struggled with a psychiatric condition as a result.
Obviously, we can look back now with a sense of “what the absolute fuck was that” but at the time, the injury was pretty brutal, with his wife claiming it was”the closest to knocking his head off his shoulders as you can possibly do without dying.”
Ultimately, he filed a lawsuit against the museum, claiming that the injuries were a result of a “lack of duty of care” from Scienceworks.
“Mr Smith was enticed to run as fast as he could in a poorly lit exhibit with only a very short stopping distance at the end of the race, no warnings or appropriate signage,” his lawyer told Fairfax at the time.