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The Ten Most Important Moments in Streaking History

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Small steps for man, giant steps for naked men. And women.

Mark Roberts

Ah, streaking. A time-honored tradition enjoyed by college students and drunk people the world over. Sometimes people do it to spread a message, sometimes they do it just to get attention, but generally streaking is a pretty unremarkable occurrence. Every now and then, though, a streaker can make a bigger impression. On the eve of the Super Bowl — a much-loved occasion for public-nudity enthusiasts — we've rounded up the ten most unforgettable streakers in history.
 

1. A naked man (1799)
The first recorded streaker in history, this anonymous Englishman accepted a bet of ten guineas to run nude from Cornhill to Cheapside, after which he was arrested and sent to the Poultry Compter. In case you're wondering, that amounts to over 1,000 U.S. dollars today and I have no idea what a Poultry Compter is. We may not know his name, but this guy was the forebear of everyone else on this list. He was the George Washington of running around naked.

2. George William Crump (1804)
The first U.S. streaker on record — before the term was even coined — George William Crump ran in his birthday suit through the town of Lexington, Virginia in 1804, while he was a student at Washington and Lee University. Crump was arrested and suspended for the rest of the semester, but the mark on his rap sheet didn't really hurt him. Certainly the most distinguished streaker on the list, he ended up being a congressman and the U.S. ambassador to Chile.

3. University of Maryland Mass Naked Run (1973)
College is a place where people are generally begging for a reason to strip down to nothing, so it's no surprise that many students choose to make it a group activity. (Not in the dirty way. Well, not in the really dirty way.) And while lots of universities have naked runs, this 1973 event involved 533 students and is responsible for the term "streaking" itself, when a local reporter exclaimed, "They are streaking past me right now. It's an incredible sight."

4. Robert Opel (1974)
It's comparatively easy to streak at a sporting event. Sure, there's security, but at least you're allowed to buy a ticket and go to the game. To streak at the 1974 Academy Awards — where there's both security and a slightly stricter guest list — Robert Opel had to first sneak backstage posing as a journalist, in order to streak across the stage flashing the peace sign. The audience was shocked, of course, but some people think show producer Jack Haley, Jr. actually orchestrated the stunt to drum up publicity.

5. Erica Roe (1982)
Also known as the Twickenham Streaker, Erica Roe is notorious for running across the pitch during an England vs. Australia rugby match. (As hilariously noted by Roe's Wikipedia page, Roe was "inspired by alcohol," which is not surprising.) She's apparently the best-known British streaker, which is quite an achievement for a land that seems rather full of them. And what makes her so memorable? That's up for debate, but it's probably her boobs.

6. Sheila Nicholls (1989)
Sheila Nicholls toured in the United States with her band, The Splendid Frock, but she first made a name for herself by losing her own frock. (No word on its aesthetic qualities.) Before the band took off, Nicholls was best known for streaking at a cricket game and performing cartwheels while she did it. Clearly when some people want to expose themselves, they really make sure that everyone's getting as good a look as possible.

7. Mark Roberts (1993- )
The champion of streaking, Mark Roberts has been doffing his clothes for years, crashing everything from rugby games to Miss World pageants, from the running of the bulls in Pamploma to the Super Bowl. He's so notorious he's been banned from every football ground in England.

8. Yvonne Robb (1999)
9. Brittney Skye (2003)
Streaking at sporting events isn't uncommon, but most of the time it's pretty straightforward: run on field, get tackled by security. So what is it about golf players that brings out streakers' romantic side? Yvonne Robb and Brittney Skye both streaked through golf games and put the moves on the players. Robb planted a kiss on Tiger Woods (something that, in hindsight, he probably loved). Skye tried to give a flower to Jim Furyk. (Granted, she had the URL of an online casino written on her back, so maybe "romantic" isn't the word.)

10. Juan Rodriguez (2010)
Poor, poor Juan Rodriguez. Better known as "that guy who streaked in front of President Obama," Rodriguez only got into this whole streaking business for the cash — specifically, to collect the cool million that internet entrepreneur Alki David had promised to whichever person successfully streaked in front of the President.  Unfortunately for our naked friend, David didn't cough up the cash (and has probably learned a lesson about just how far people will go for money). But Rodriguez didn't come out of this experience with nothing to show for it: he's just been sentenced to two exciting years of probation.