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In researching for an Athletics Weekly piece recently on the charms and superstitions used by athletes (you can read the piece here – it includes all the reasons why athletes may have superstitions and if they work or not) I came across so many superstitions reported to be held by athletes all over the world that it seemed too good not to share. So below are some of those I found. Would love to hear if you have one…


Björn Borg – Always prepared for Wimbledon by growing a beard and wearing the same Fila shirt.

Serena Williams – Brings shower sandals to the court, ties her shoelaces a specific way, bouncing the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second, and wears the same pair of socks during a tournament run.

Rafael Nadal – Crosses lines with his right foot; arriving with one tennis racket in his hand; eating his energy gels in a specific way and lines up his water bottles in an orderly line, with all the labels pointing in the same direction.


Ronaldo – steps onto the pitch with his right foot first. He also changes his hairstyle at half time.

Bobby Moore – had to be the last man in the changing room to put on his shorts.

John Terry – relieves himself in the same urinal of the Chelsea dressing room before kick-off.


Jason Terry – slept in ‘game worn’ shorts of the opposition the night before a game and wears five pairs of long socks in every game.

Michael Jordan – Always wore a pair of North Carolina practice shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls ones.


Turk Wendell – chewed four pieces of liquorice as he pitched and brushed his teeth in the dugout between every innings.

Wade Boggs – eating chicken before each game and always taking batting practice at 5:17 and running sprints at 7:17.

Kevin Rhomberg – refused to turn right while running and had a compulsion to touch anyone who had touched him.


Steve James – forbade his children from having toy ducks in the house for his entire playing career.

Stuart Broad – sprays himself with Paco Rabanne before bowling.

Neil McKenzie – Not stepping on white lines.


Laura Trott – steps on a wet towel before races after once winning a junior race while wearing a wet sock.


Paula Radcliffe – used the same safety pins to attach her number in every race.

Michael Rimmer – wears a T-shirt beneath his racing vest

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey – keeps a good luck stone near him in races

Jodie Williams – had a lucky elephant charm that she claims took her though 151 races unbeaten. When she lost the elephant, she lost a race so now has an elephant tattooed on her ankle instead.


Tiger Woods – always wears red on the final day of a golf tournament.