When Simone Biles Met Zac Efron—And More Viral Olympic Moments

The Beijing 2022 Olympics is well underway! So while we wait for news to pop up from the games, let's revisit viral moments from past Olympic games.

By Alyssa Ray Feb 07, 2022 11:00 AMTags
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This viral Olympics moment deserves its own gold medal.

We're, of course, talking about the headline-making encounter when Olympian Simone Biles met her celebrity crush, Zac Efron, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But, before we get into the heartwarming specifics, let's relive the moments leading up to the meet-in-greet, which included a kiss on the cheek, shall we?

Heading into the 2016 Summer games, the iconic gymnast revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that she had a huge crush on the Neighbors actor. Without missing a beat, the talk show host asked, "Is it just 'cause he's gorgeous, is that why you like him?"

In response, Simone offered up a simple, "Yes!"

Same, girl. Same.

As Simone's crush picked up steam, even becoming a talking point on NBC's Nightly News, the network arranged for the two stars to meet in real life. Unsurprisingly, Simone's reaction deserved a perfect 10.

"If you bring him out, I think I'm going to pass out,'' she warned Hoda Kotb just before Zac entered, which resulted in plenty of screaming.

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Of course, this isn't the first time that an unexpected moment has gone viral at the Olympics. We mean, it's pretty hard to forget Michael Phelps' iconic game face from the 2016 Olympics. Oh, and who could forget the time American bobsledder Johnny Quinn was forced to bust through a bathroom door in Sochi? We know we haven't.

Watch: Why Simone Biles Is The G.O.A.T.

For our favorite viral Olympics moments, scroll through the images below!

A Flag Bearer to Remember

Pita Taufatofua almost broke the internet during his appearance at the opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics. Specifically, while serving as Tonga's flagbearer, the taekwondo practitioner made a stir after wearing a taʻovala, which featured his oiled and shirtless body. 

He reprised his flag bearer position at both the 2018 Winter Olympics and the 2020 Summer Olympics—and we couldn't be more pleased.

A Celebrity Fan

After revealing that her celebrity crush was Zac Efron on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the High School Musical alum surprised Simone Biles and her teammates on NBC while they were in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. After Hoda Kotb teased Efron's presence, the Olympian declared, "If you bring him out, I think I'm going to pass out."

Thankfully, she didn't and got an A-list visit with the actor, which included a kiss on the cheek.

Scream and Shout

Coach Dean Boxall left an impression at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he was spotted screaming and shouting following Australia swimmer Ariarne Titmus' successful face-off against Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky.

Squirrel on the Slalom

A squirrel cheated death after running across a slalom course during the 2018 Winter Olympics. In fact, Austria's Daniela Ulbing impressively dodged the rodent and finished her run without hiccup.

Devin Logan's "Tiny Hands"

Silver medalist Devin Logan made a splash at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by having an unexpected good-luck piece. The Olympic freeskier debuted tiny hand trinkets that she'd wave to the crowd after runs. After the tiny hands went viral, the Olympian revealed she got them from her brother.

McKayla Maroney Is Unimpressed

McKayla Maroney became an instant meme when she debuted her unimpressed face after receiving the silver medal at the London Olympics. "I remember doing the face for literally two seconds," the Olympian explained in an interview from 2014. "Like, if you watch the video, it's two seconds. And I remember thinking, did I just make a face? Because it's natural. I do it all the time. I have pictures of me when I'm little doing it. I have it on my Mac computer when I'm like 13."

Protective Parents

Aly Raisman's parents, Rick and Lynn Raisman, first went viral at the 2012 London Olympics after they were spotted squirming in their seats as their gymnast daughter competed for the gold. Rick later told USA Today, "I'm a little horrified right now," but then went on to bring the same protective energy to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Phelps Face

With a record-breaking number of medals, talented swimmer Michael Phelps was already an intimidating opponent at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Yet, ahead of the 200-meter butterfly semifinal, Phelps debuted a game face that sent the internet into a tizzy. He later revealed at the MTV Video Music Awards that he was listening to Future while getting in the zone, which caused this expression.

Johnny Quinn's Door Takedown

American bobsledder Johnny Quinn made headlines at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but not for the reason you think. The athlete found himself trapped in a bathroom and was forced to bust through the door. Understandably, this moment caused quite a stink online.

Not So Blue Water

After the pools at the 2016 Olympics started turning green, people began wondering what was going on. According to CBS, the color change was caused by an incorrect amount of hydrogen peroxide being added to the water. Terrible for the Olympics committee, hilarious for those on Twitter.

007 & QE2

The London 2012 Olympic Games kicked off with a memorable opening ceremony thanks to James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Queen Elizabeth II. In the special intro, the secret agent accompanied the British monarch to the Summer Games, corgis and all. What we didn't expect? The Queen skydiving with Bond into the international event.

(We know she didn't actually skydive, but it gave us a chuckle nonetheless.)

For more Olympics news, click here.

(A version of this story originally published on July 19, 2021 at 4 a.m. PT)

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