Is streaking really that bad?

What is streaking i.e the art of running naked in public for laughs. Must be nude. Shoes, scarves and hats are optional. And why do people run naked in public? Booze and bets for cash seem to be the main common denominator. 

The first recorded streaker was in 1799, an Englishman and he did it for a bet, no doubt fuelled by alcohol. Then it became popular on USA University campus’s in the 1970’s with a generation rebelling against most establishment things, including clothing.

But in my humble opinion, the first streaker would have been Lady Godiva, who according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, England in protest against her husbands oppressive taxation on the local people. So the first streak was an act of protest and apparently Lady Godiva’s husband abolished the taxes later.

The first streaker would have been Lady Godiva, who according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, England in protest against her husbands oppressive taxation on the local people.

A couple of the most famous streaks involved the Australian Rugby team at Twickenham.

In 1974, Michael O’Brien was at the Wallabies-England rugby match, consuming a number of beers and for a bet agreed to run naked across the pitch at halftime. The policeman who arrested O’Brien commented to the press later “So he did it for a bet – he had to run across the pitch at halftime and touch the other side to win 10 pound. I caught him just before he reached there but when he explained the bet, I let him touch the stand before I took him away”. A great example of community policing seen there – O’Brien later returned to Australia and became a successful stock broker.

Eight years later at the same venue Twickenham at another Wallabies – England rugby match, Erica Roe achieved her place in streaking history with what has been described as the greatest streak of all time. Plenty of blokes have streaked at large sporting events but Roe was the first female.


Roe was 24 yers old at the time and admitted to have had a few bevies before getting her top off and bouncing across the pitch to the delight of the crowd at halftime. Apparently Bill Beaumont, the England captain was giving his halftime talk to the team and was interrupted by one of the players saying

Erica made the front pages of newspapers world wide, was offered modelling contracts and earned thousands from TV appearances

Erica commented later – “What happened next gave my life a 360 degree turn and I couldn’t stop the ball rolling, I was only 24 at the time and I can’t explain why I streaked. The phone rang for three years non stop with offers such as hotel, pub and shop openings, new businesses and rugby club dinner invitations. Mum, Dad and my family loved it and were quite proud and enjoyed all the attention it garnered”. More people smiled, laughed and enjoyed her youthful enthusiasm than were offended by it.

"What happened next gave my life a 360 degree turn and I couldn't stop the ball rolling, I was only 24 at the time and I can't explain why I streaked. The phone rang for three years non stop with offers such as hotel, pub and shop openings, new businesses and rugby club dinner invitations. Mum, Dad and my family loved it and were quite proud and enjoyed all the attention it garnered".

Around this time Ray Stevens realised a song “The Streak” which was a phenomenal success, reaching No 1 in the charts and sold 5 million copies around the globe.

Summer in the mid 1970’s saw streaking become popular worldwide and in Australia/New Zealand it was not about protest or demonstrating, it was just an act of fun, freedom and the joy of life. It certainly was not a mature activity but it was almost playful and innocent – just having fun.

Most people growing up in the ’70’s would have had some experience of the streaking fad and I am sure it will be a memory that still brings a smile to the face.

To me if you run onto the pitch clothed it is a pitch invasion but if naked then that it is entertainment and to be enjoyed and appreciated.

The best streak I have ever seen was at the Basin Reserve at a New Zealand- Australia cricket test in Wellington NZ and it was a masterstroke of planning, execution and daring – simply brilliant. Watch this the below video and if it doesn’t make you smile please check that your funny bone has not been removed.

Words by Tony Stretch. Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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