9 pre-game rituals that some of the biggest names in sport live by

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  • Dirty socks, old pants and drinking your own wee...

    We’d assumed that Serena Williams smashed it at Wimbledon because she’s an incredible player, but could it also have had something to do with her socks?

    Apparently the tennis champion keeps wearing the same pair of socks once she gets onto a winning streak, for good luck. Might be a bit smelly, but with that many championship trophies, you can’t say it’s not effective. It turns out, this kind of superstition is pretty common in the sports world…

    In a recent list compiled by 888Poker.com,some of the most bonkers pre-match / game / tournament / race rituals have been uncovered.

    Tiger Woods
    The pro-golfer insists on wearing a red polo shirt, if he’s playing on a Sunday. Specific.

    Bjorn Borg
    Every Wimbledon Bjorn used to start growing a beard, and not shave it off until he was knocked out. When he kept winning it got seriously bushy.

    Jade Jones
    The Taekwondo champ wears her lucky pair of union Jack knickers under her clothes. It started as a co-incidence, but she owns several pairs now, because she’s so superstitious!

    Michael Jordan
    Under his game shorts, Jordan used to wear the lucky pair of practice shorts that he’d played especially well in.

    Rafael Nadal
    If (like most of us) you’ve got a crush on Rafa then you might want to look away now, because Nadal puts his sporting success down to drinking his own wee. Apparently everyone in his family does it.

    Laura Trott
    The first time Laura won a cycling race she’d stepped on a wet towel in the changing room. Now she has to race with one damp foot, standing on a wet towel every time she gets out on the track, for good luck.

    Christiano Ronaldo
    Some footballers use the half time to talk tactics, but not Ronaldo, he likes to take a break and change his hairstyle, so he’ll never play two halves with the same hair.

    Michael Phelps
    Aside from eating an incredible quantity of chicken nuggets, Phelps has his pre-swim routine down. He listens to Michael Jackson on his headphones as he approaches the blocks, then rotates his arms three times.

    Mo Farah
    Family man and marathon runner Mo spends the moments before a race re-shaving his head and then splashing it with cold water. Maybe the extra aero-dynamics give him the edge?

    So there you go. Being a sports champ is as simple as re-wearing the same pair of pants several times, or getting a pair of lucky socks. Or, y’know, it might also have something to do with life-long dedication or getting up at 5AM to train.

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