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Signs, gestures and superstitions of notable sportspersons at the Olympics

Success does not only come through hard work for a few athletes who depend on signs from above for their sporting fervour

Usain Bolt doing his iconic pose after a race

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (Source: Olympics)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 19 July 2021 11:22 AM GMT

Some athlete trends go viral while others are ignored for a want of visibility. However, whether it be superstitions or just habits from childhood, there is no doubt that sportspersons too have their fair share of ardent beliefs which they would like to never give up on. We take a look at a few habits and superstitions of famous athletes around the world.

Usain Bolt

For the longest time possible, Usain Bolt made his mark on the track with several Gold medals in short distance events. What really struck out for sports fans was his signature sign before every race. He would make it a point to brush his hair with his hands and walk backwards before doing the bolt sign with his arms pointed towards the air. This gradually began being replicated everywhere he went by his fans and other celebrities alike.

Santo Condorelli

His middle finger is more of a signature move than a superstition. As a child, Santo was often intimidated by other swimmers around him who were seemingly large in size. As a result, his father began telling him to show the middle finger every time he began a race to put his fears aside. This gradually evolved into a tradition where he points the finger to wherever hid father was sitting.

Santo Condorelli

Santo Condorelli

Serena Williams

The multiple time grand slam winner does not play without her fair share of superstitious beliefs. For a start, she wears the same sock throughout the tournament and this includes wearing them right till the final if need be. To add to it, every member who comes to watch her play will be seated in the same position in her private viewers box. The order is seemingly set and one can only say that it has done wonders to her trophy laden career.

Rafael Nadal

This is something that not too many tennis fans would have noticed. Nadal is extremely superstitious about his beliefs off the court. He arranges his nutrients and water bottles in the exact same position every time. After the coin toss, he does a slight jump and the most visible of all is that he gets up the last after a break in the game. One might notice this the next time he plays in a major tournament.

Michael Jordan

The man is credited with inventing the concept of wearing long shorts in basketball. But this too happened by chance as he considered his North Carolina shorts as lucky since he lead them to the National Championship in 1982. Since then he began wearing those shorts under his main jersey kit for every game that he played as a professional. This inadvertently lead to people picking up on his style of play and using the same style of long shorts in the future.

Jordan in his prime(source-sportscasting)

Jordan in his prime(source-sportscasting)

Andre Agassi

Another bizarre tradition was of tennis master Andre Agassi wearing no underwear during his professional matches. He began doing this in 1999 at the French Open and thought that it would work in his favour if he continued the same way. He never wore underwear as a wardrobe mix up cause him to only wear a pair of shorts for a match. But that too happened by chance and made it a permanent absence in his apparel later on.

Phelps backslap(source- ESPN)

Phelp's backslap(source- ESPN)

Michael Phelps

He swings both his arms three times and does a back slap as well as part of his pre event routine. While this helps with the warm up, it also helps clear his mind before the race. Phelps never gave up on this tradition of his in all the races that he swam in and even did this once before a golf tee off.

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