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Why do winners cheer?


This question pops up when you see sports people claim their victory. There are many theories related to this. Some say it is a natural instinct. Some say that it is a tactic, designed to impress and discourage the competition. The next question is: How to best cheer? What gestures work best? Below is some inspiration…

To start with the first question:
Why? Why do winners raise both hands when they win?

According to some, it is simply a physiological reaction. To let the adrenaline produced with all the physical and emotional effort, flow easily through the body. Stretching helps. Experiments involving people with visual impairments would prove this theory.

Another theory claims that it is just psychological: Making yourself look taller, by raising your arms to show that you are ‘the greatest’. Studies of behavior in wildlife seem to confirm that this also happens when animals conquer territories or fight each other.

Some people think it is more symbolic. By diagonally lifting both arms, your upper body turns into a V shape, the V of Victory or, from the days of the Roman Empire, the V of Vici… a representation of language somehow. Knowing that the percentage of literate people in those days was very limited, this seems less probable.
As with many theories, none of them tell the complete story. So it is quite probable that the answer to the question “why?”, is a mix of the above.

How do winners cheer? That is the second question.

More and more you see successful sport people being prepared for their celebration. E.g. they lift their jersey to show a text written on their underwear. Also complete, complex gestures are clearly made up and rehearsed beforehand. Complete rhythmic dances or shooting scenes are performed after scoring a goal. This is particularly so when cameras are around, to show it to the world. Not really spontaneous or instinctive though. There is nothing wrong with that. But you wonder what happens to the undershirt with the text written on it, if the goal was not scored. Or what would happen if the time used to practice the little victory-dance, was used to train on the actual sports performance? Perhaps even more success?

And as a closing: What do we do?

At Team3M we considered a simple gesture with two hands. Each with three fingers. One horizontally to depict a ‘3’ and one with the three fingers pointing down, to depict the ‘M’. Crossing two hand would create a 3M ‘logo’… But this also would require some practice (try it out. So, perhaps it is better that we just spend our time on training our racing skills. And simply keep throwing our hands in the air when we win again. Simple and straight!

Thanks to Roland Pipeleers for his photos. Cycle Sport Photography (cycle-sport.be).

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