The Australian way:
In 1956 runners bore the Olympic flame across Australia, on a path from Cairns to Melbourne, where the summer games were to be held. But before the flame even got as far as Sydney, it had to endure a series of setbacks. Torrential rains soaked it. Burning heat almost overwhelmed the runners. The flame even went out a few times. Then in Sydney it encountered a situation unique in Olympic history.
Cross-country champion Harry Dillon was scheduled to bear the flame into Sydney, where he would present it to the mayor, Pat Hills. After making a short speech, Hills would pass the flame along to another runner, Bert Button.
Thirty-thousand people lined the streets of Sydney waiting for Dillon to arrive. Reporters stood ready with their cameras to record the historic occasion. Finally the runner appeared, bearing the flame aloft, and everyone began cheering. As the crowd pressed forward a police escort surrounded the runner in order to keep order.
With this escort around him, the runner made his way through the streets all the way to the Sydney Town Hall. He bounded up the steps and handed the torch to the waiting mayor who graciously accepted it and turned to begin his prepared speech.
Then someone whispered in the mayor’s ear, “That’s not the torch.” Suddenly the mayor realized what he was holding. Held proudly in his hand was not the majestic Olympic flame. Instead he was gripping a wooden chair leg topped by a plum pudding can inside of which a pair of kerosene-soaked underpants was burning with a greasy flame. The mayor looked around for the runner, but the man had already disappeared, melting away into the surrounding crowd.
The 1956 underpants hoax runner, Barry Larkin, was protesting at the Nazi origins of the torch relay. The Olympic movement has widened its sponsor pool since then. Our thanks to Hoaxipedia.