You wouldn’t think the world’s greatest athletes would need to rely on superstitions for success, but it seems even the best of the best would rather have luck on their side. Here are some of the strangest pre-game rituals that our favourite athletes always do before competing.
- Serena Williams’ smelly socks
Serena Williams is one of the most decorated female tennis players of all time – most would say her success is down to her strength, stamina and commitment. However, if you were to ask Serena herself, she might give the credit to something else. Whilst she’s on a winning streak, Williams will refuse to change her socks for the whole tournament. The only thing we can smell here is success…
- Mo Farah shaves seconds off his time…
The Double-Olympic gold medallist takes aerodynamics to a new level by making sure to shave his head before every race. As if that wasn’t enough, he’ll then have a glass of ice cold water splashed over him. He says ‘having no hair makes me run faster’.
- Bjorn Borg’s lucky beard
Tennis legend Bjorn Borg’s beard might just be more famous than the tennis player himself. Before the first round of Wimbledon every year, Bjorn would start growing out his beard and not shave until the tournament had finished. Sounds crazy… and a bit itchy… but it seems to have helped – he won five straight titles between 1976-80.
- Malvin Kamara’s weekly dose of Wonka
Former Huddersfield Town midfielder Malvin Kamara revealed he had a strange pre-match ritual of watching Willy Wonka before every single game. He said the children’s classic movie ‘calms my nerves and gives me luck’
- Michael Jordan’s lucky shorts
Probably the most famous superstition in the NBA belonged to Michael Jordan. During his time with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan would wear his old North Carolina shorts underneath his NBA uniform for good luck. Interestingly, this lead to the trend of players wearing longer shorts in the NBA.
- Cristiano Ronaldo puts his best foot forward
Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals for fun it seems, but perhaps his success has something to do with his (multiple) pre match rituals. The Juventus star always steps onto the pitch with his right foot, and when travelling by plane to a match, he likes to sit at the front and exit the plane first. It’s the opposite when he travels by bus though, where he’ll always sit at the back.
- Tiger Woods sees red
Watch major golf champion, Tiger Woods on the final day of a tournament and the likelihood will be that he’s wearing a red shirt. He has said himself that his superstition was born out of his college days. His college colours were red and as he started winning in red he stuck with that colour out of superstition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
- Laura Trott’s wet socks
Olympic cyclist, Laura Trott has to step on a wet towel with one foot before every race. She’s done this ever since winning a junior race whilst wearing one wet sock.
- John Terry’s long list!
John Terry might just be football’s most superstitious player ever. The former England and Chelsea captain reckoned he had over fifty pre-game rituals. Some of these included taping his socks exactly three times, listening to the same Usher album on his way to the ground, and always sitting in the same seat on the team coach.
- Jurgen Klopp – Look but don’t touch
It’s not just the players who have their superstitions. When football players are signed to a new club, it’s tradition to touch the team’s sign for luck. However, Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp refused to touch the ‘This is Anfield’ sign (and banned the players from touching it too) until they won a major trophy.
What are your pre-game rituals? Let us know in the comments below.