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Today is the 17th anniversary of that time Fabio was smashed in the face by a goose at Busch Gardens

Fabio is so at peace with being goosed in the face.


Fabio is so at peace with being goosed in the face.



Roller coasters are fun. Anniversaries are fun. This photo of Fabio is super-duper fun.

It has a little bit of everything: concern, laughter, bewilderment, disgust. A gaggle of women dressed as Greek ladies of yore. Blood.

It was 17 years ago today that the golden-tressed, open-shirted model strapped himself in for the first public ride of Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. And it was on that day in a much simpler 1999 that the god-like humanoid suffered the bizarre, odds-defying injury of goose to face while plummeting down the ride's first drop at 70 mph.

If you don't remember the incident, or if you brushed it off as an April Fools' Day joke back then, allow me to retell the tale.

An ill-fated waterfowl with unfortunate timing soared in front of the roller coaster's car and was struck and killed via broken neck. The bird's carcass then tumbled backward and crashed into Fabio's nose, causing an impressive laceration that would require three stitches. Fortunately, the model didn't break any bones - or die - but his face was rather swollen when all was said and done.

When the car rolled into the station, the invited media, expecting a picture-perfect moment, instead documented a gruesome scene that could have been much, much worse had the goose flown a few inches off its track. The incident made national headlines and all the late-night monologues, giving the theme park a massive PR headache and the rest of us a good laugh.

And here we are, 17 years later, still chuckling. What are the chances that the world's most famous male model would suffer such an improbable, outlandish, potentially career-threatening trauma, all in front of a throng of photographers?

It still feels too good to be true.

Maybe for the 20th anniversary, we'll ride the Chariot as tribute.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 5:01pm]


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