Athletes Bring Lucky Charms — And Superstition — To Field | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Athletes Bring Lucky Charms — And Superstition — To Field

Play associated audio

Many U.S. Olympic athletes carry a good luck charm — pink shoelaces or a stuffed dinosaur. Some follow certain rituals — they don't straighten their hair or shave before an event. But it takes more than that to take home the gold.

Olympic athletes often talking about their superstitions in interviews.

"My mom gave me this bullet necklace … she told me I was faster than a speeding bullet," says Sanya Richards-Ross, who placed first in the 400 meter race in London's Olympics.

"I remember the one time I didn't race with it I finished third," she adds.

These lucky charms or rituals may help athletes believe they are going to be more successful, says Dr. Keith Kaufman, who specializes in sports psychology. 

"And there's certainly plenty of evidence out there that what we believe is very powerful," he says.  But a more practical approach, such as going through the same routine, can be more helpful, he adds.

"Whether I'm serving for the match or whether I'm just serving to my coach, if I do the same exact thing every time, then it really speaks to this being the same exact skill no matter what the situation is," he says.    

So while some athletes will still wear those lucky socks for the next race, it's practice that makes perfect, Kaufman says. 

NPR

Centenarian Poet Was A Fearless Guide To 'The Country Of Old Age'

Poet and author Margaret Howe Freydburg died last week at 107; she wrote and published well past her 100th birthday. Her friend Nancy Slonim Aronie has an appreciation of a remarkable woman.
NPR

Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades.
NPR

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Sen. Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted on corruption charges. These are the first criminal charges brought against a sitting U.S. Senator in seven years.
NPR

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

President Obama signed a new executive order that will allow the administration to freeze the assets of any individual or group involved in "malicious" cyberattacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.