Six cyclists preparing to start a race in Østlendingen, Norway, were hospitalized today after they all drank laundry detergent, believing it to be some kind of sports drink. They are all fine, so it's OK to laugh.
The town's paper, the Østlendingen, reported that the detergent was a new product developed specifically for athletic apparel. The race organizers had even passed it out at a previous race without incident. "No one drank the samples," the race's bewildered press officer said.
"We also believe that it clearly appears that this is a detergent," said the detergent parent company's Head of Information Anne Gjemdal. "It is emphasized on the label on the front."
Yes, this is humorous, especially because it happened to people wearing spandex. But at the time, drinking laundry detergent was no laughing matter. Race organizers claimed they discussed the issue with the Norwegian version of poison control at length before confirming that it is not, in fact, toxic to drink the product should you voluntarily choose to do so.
But whether this is indicative of falling literacy rates among endurance participants or merely adrenaline-induced blindness, after the first six riders drank the detergent, a stern warning was put in place:
After the six [riders] drank the samples, the table where the samples are divided [was] clearly marked with "Here you go SOAPS DO NOT DRINK"
So please, take a soap. But maybe wait to drink it until after your race.