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U.S. Olympians try their hand at Cockney slang

If Cockney impressions were an Olympic sport, the Americans would dominate for all the wrong reasons.


Chase Hoffberger


Posted on Jul 26, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 1:51 pm CDT

A United States Olympic wrestler says she knows that “people in London talk funny,” but does she know that the Cockney dialect she’s speaking of actually has specific social and geographic ties?

There’s a working-class culture in East London that seems to gravitate towards that thick, raw, often uninterpretable style of speech that Guy Ritchie and your drunk college friends both love to employ.

To get themselves in the London spirit, a gaggle of U.S. Olympians took to the classroom to try their hand at the infamous Cockney accent. Their efforts are both hilarious and unfortunate, but in the end, one thing was true: Our country should be grateful that Cockney impressions is not an Olympic sport. If it were, the Americans would dominate for all the wrong reasons.

The Daily Dot sorted through the wreckage and found a few Cockney offerings deserving of distinction. Our awards below. Let the games begin.

  • Best Cockney: Steven Lopez (taekwondo), for his gruff delivery on “If you win a medal, you can go chicken oriental, my son.”
  • Worst Cockney: Heather O’Reilly (soccer), for sounding like General Tsao on that same “chicken oriental” line.
  • Heartiest effort: Logan Tom (indoor volleyball), for her pronounced enunciation of “my son” at the end of the “chicken oriental” line.
  • Most excited: Katie O’Donnell (field hockey), for her gut-busting laugh in the middle of saying “I’ll stick on the Hansel and Gretel and have a nice cup of Rosie Lee.”
  • Most unprepared: Hyleas Fountain (track & field), for her “Rosie Lee” delivery, even though her eyes are transfixed on the cue cards.
  • Most unenthused: Tim Morehouse (fencing), who clearly did not want to do any impressions on this particular day.

Photo via YouTube

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*First Published: Jul 26, 2012, 3:02 pm CDT