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How flags and anthems have been bungled before

Get Real! Flag flap at Olympic game

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Story highlights

  • North Korean women's soccer team walked off field after flag gaffe
  • Flags and anthems have been bungled before in major sporting events
  • This includes songs from movie "Borat," Nazi lyrics, apartheid anthems

Members of North Korea's women's Olympic soccer team walked off the field Wednesday when the flag of South Korea was mistakenly flashed on the big screen before their match against Colombia.

North Korea regards its neighbor as a "puppet regime" of the West and the relationship between the two nations has become increasingly strained.

The London Games organizers issued a hasty apology and eventually the North Korean team returned to beat the Colombian team 2-0.

Perhaps the organizers can take comfort in knowing that it's not the first time officials have bungled a flag or an anthem. Here's a recap of some notable gaffes:

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Last month, British field hockey authorities apologized to South Africa after an apartheid-era national anthem played before an international game.

The South African women's hockey team heard its pre-1994 anthem "Die Stem" play before a game against Great Britain. The song is a sore spot for many in South Africa, because it represents a checkered part of its history of white minority rule.

Great Britain hockey blamed the error on "a contractor responsible for sports presentation at the event." Afterwards, South Africa beat Great Britain 3-1 in an upset.

2012 Amir of Kuwait International Shooting Grand Prix: "Borat" parody anthem plays

A Kazakhstan sharpshooter Mariya Dmitrienko, who won gold at an international shooting championship, was stunned to hear a parody anthem from the movie "Borat" instead of her national anthem.

The lyrics blared: "Kazakhstan's prostitutes cleanest in the region, except of course Turkmenistan's."

During the awkward award ceremony, Dmitrienko managed to remain steady.

Kuwait Shooting Federation officials called it an "unintentional" mistake. And the head coach of the Kazakh team said they were told their nation's anthem was downloaded from the internet.

Euro 2008: Banned Nazi lyrics plays to German national anthem

Banned Nazi lyrics ran as subtitles to the German national anthem before a Euro 2008 soccer match. The lyrics were banned after World War II as it starts with "Germany, Germany, above everything else in this world." The subtitles ran live on Swiss TV and on the giant screens around the country, prompting fans to jeer, and toss beer and food at the screens.

The snafu was blamed on researchers who copied the lyrics from the internet before the match between Germany and Austria, the Austrian Times reported.

Swiss TXT, a company that provided the subtitles, apologized and called it "an embarrassing mistake," reported ESPN.

The confusion could've occurred because German's national anthem is the same song, minus the first two stanzas, which were believed to promote Nazi ideals.

Germany won the game 1-0.

1992 World Series: Oh Canada?

During Game 2 of the World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Canadian flag was displayed upside-down.

The U.S. Marine Corps marched onto the field with an upside-down maple leaf, much to the chagrin of Blue Jays fans and Canadians.

The incident sparked so much controversy that then-President George H.W. Bush issued two apologies to the Canadian people, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Marine Corps took full responsibility for the gaffe. The error occurred because the Marines had been provided the Canadian flag at the last-minute, according to the 1992 report.

At the end, the Canadian team defeated the American one, becoming the first team from outside the United States to win the World Series.

And just this week... Taiwan's flag was removed from London's flag display.

The Republic of China, also known as Taiwan, competes in the Olympics as Chinese Taipei and uses a special flag just for the games.

It cannot use the Taiwanese flag or play its anthem at Olympic venues, as mandated by a 1981 accord with the International Olympics Committee, stemming from sovereignty disputes with China.

But Taiwan's flag hung over Regents Street in London along with 205 other flags of the countries represented in the Olympics. The flag display is run by a neighborhood civic group, not the Olympic committee.

Earlier this week, Taiwan's flag was removed, reported the Taipei Times.

There was no reason given for its removal. But the Central News Agency reported that Taiwan's Olympic flag will be placed on the street display, instead of its flag.

Calls to the Republic of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not returned.

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