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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Winning streak continues
By Chris Charles
Nudes editor

Michael O'Brien at Twickenham in 1974

When Jermaine Stewart sang: "You don't have to take your clothes off", he had obviously never witnessed the streaking phenomenon.

The unbridled joy as your liberated sports fan charges across the pitch with gay abandon, naked as the day he was born, free as a bird, not a care in the world.

Until he is brought crashing back to earth with a flying rugby tackle.

It is 30 years since the word streaking entered the English language - courtesy of an Australian accountant who bore more than a passing resemblance to Jesus.

Michael O'Brien set the ball rolling when he invaded an England-France rugby match at Twickenham in April 1974, wearing nothing more than a smile.

He was quickly brought to heel by some amused members of Her Majesty's constabulary, who immediately covered O'Brien's modesty with a policeman's helmet.

"It was a cold day," laughed one officer. "And I can tell you he had nothing to be proud of!"

Serial streaker Mark Roberts at Lord's in 2000
Mind the middle stump, son

Evidently one of those rare occasions when a cop says "there's nothing to see" and actually means it.

Three decades on and streaking has been accepted as part and parcel of our sporting culture.

We've had people getting their kit off at the football, the cricket, the tennis - even the Richard and Judy weather map, for goodness sake.

Serial streaker Mark Roberts, a veteran of Grand National and Wimbledon nudity, has popped out a total of 273 times - but his latest stunt could prove to be a streak too far.

Roberts is being sent for trial in America after rudely interrupting the Super Bowl earlier this year.

If judges react in the same way as outraged citizens to Janet Jackson's untimely boob, the father-of-three may not be disgracing us with his presence for a very long time.

Of course, these days we don't need to rely on our menfolk to let it all hang out.

Since Erika Roe bounded on to our screens at Twickenham in 1982, women have been falling over themselves to get back to nature.

Melissa Johnson streaks at Wimbledon in 1996
Court with her pants down

Melissa Johnson livened up the 1996 Wimbledon final between Richard Krajicek and Malivai Washington, while Nikki Moffat painted herself with tiger stripes to pay tribute to her hero at the 1997 Open.

The same year, Lianne Croft provided the most interesting moment of Steve Davis' career when she invaded his clash with Ronnie O'Sullivan during the final of snooker's Masters.

Davis complained he was concentrating so hard he only saw her back. Course you did, Steve.

But the title of streaking queen has to go to 22-year-old Tracy Sergeant, whose crowing glory came at the Indoor Bowls Championship in 2000.

A statement from officials read: "After having studied the whole unsavoury incident on 43 occasions, including slow motion replays, we have decided against implementing a rule that spectators should remain clothed at all times."


SEE ALSO
Defender's losing streak
26 Mar 04  |  Fun and Games
Streaking 'Sven' blazes a trail
23 Apr 02  |  World Champs 2002



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