Stories to make you smile
Steve Ovett’s foot & 6 other epic statue failures
There is something irresistible about bad statues. So here are seven of our favourites, from a plasticine St George to a hideous Ronaldo and an Olympian’s forgotten foot. Best of all, you can visit most of these statues on our holidays!
The village of Estella near Pamplona has been much in the news after someone restored their statue of St George. Unfortunately, they have made him look exactly like a character from Trumpton.
Photo credit: ArtUs Restauración Patrimonio
While we’re on the subject of children’s TV shows, over in Asturias someone managed to turn a lovely wooden 15th century statue of Mary and Jesus into something more akin to a Fisher Price activity centre.
Photo credit: The Independent
Moving on to South America, we have the rather bizarre large-scale statue of lovers looking out to sea in Chile’s town of Puerto Montt. That they are looking out to sea is irrefutable but rather than being in love, they look eternally miserable.
Up in Peru there’s the rather gaudy Inca statue in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, some say it is Pachacuti but I think it’s likely a generic Inca. In any case, it’s fibreglass so hardly befitting a such a grand person, real or imagined. However, the issue with this statue isn’t the current work so much as what went before: a native North American warrior with a bow and arrow.
The story goes that it was placed there in the early 20th century in error by a visiting professor from the States. Even this painted lawn ornament is better than that particular racist faux pas.
Back across the Atlantic, Madeira’s attempt to immortalise native Cristiano Ronaldo missed the goal quite brilliantly. In fact, it belted the ball out of the stadium. Ronaldo may be unbearably vain but he’s undoubtedly pretty, a fact rather missed in this statue.
After uproar, the statue was removed in 2018, against some local’s wishes. As is so often the case, people were coming from far and wide to enjoy a good laugh so hideous Ronaldo was a nice little earner for many.
Back to the UK, sadly also now gone, is the Luis Tussauds waxworks museum in Great Yarmouth. A quick scan of their collection is well worth it. My personal favourite is Prince William, reminds me of the scene in ET where he is discovered near death in the riverbed. Apparently, someone bought the lot and they are now in private hands.
There’s one statue I will never allow to be taken away from public appreciation and that’s Steve Ovett’s foot.
Brighton’s most famous Olympian is a constant presence in my life. My son runs for a club set up by him, I see his old school from my living room, I even used to buy fish from his dad in the local market but most significantly, every morning I walk past his statue. What’s left of it at least.
After his success in the Moscow Olympics of 1980, a bronze statue was erected in Preston Park, Brighton. Back in 2007, thieves came along and stole it, most of it. Just the foot was left and there it remains to this day, hiding amidst the flowers, a monument to slightly rubbish statues the world over.
If you want to visit Estella, our Camino Inn to Inn takes you right there. All of our Peru holidays take you to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas. Our Route of the Parks trip will take you to Puerto Montt and the lovers looking out to sea. If you want to come and see the foot, just come and say hello at the office and we’ll lead you on a tour!
The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.