One of the most notable features of the West Indies’ triumph in the T20 World Cup was their victory dance (to the tune of ‘Champions’ by DJ Bravo). And celebratory rituals certainly are not new to the world of sport – there are many who celebrate an achievement with a special move or a gesture. And here’s a look at ten sporting celebrations that attained almost iconic status:
Jimmy Connors’ fist pump
The clenched fist waved in the air is perhaps the biggest indication of achievement or of geeing up on the sports pitch. And while many have essayed this gesture, the man who can be credited with giving it an almost iconic status was American tennis star Jimmy Connors who imbued it with an aggression and ferocity not seen before. And as he grew older, the fist pump became more elaborate and one of the most spectacular sights on a tennis court.
Chi Chi Rodgriguez’s sword play
What can you do after winning or hitting a special shot at golf? Well, apart from hold your arms up or lift your hat to the crowd? Well, if you are Puerto Rico golfing legend Chi Chi Rodigruez, you wave your golf club around like an imaginary sabre, and then slam it back into its invisible scabbard. The “fencing with a golf club” routine was Rodriguez’s trademark and he did it so well – and added so much complexity to the lunges and swipes – that not too many tried to copy him.
England’s sprinkler dance
They did not make it a regular routine, but the one time they did do it went down in Ashes history. England’s cricketers had surprised everyone when they defeated Australia Down Under in 2010. And they celebrated in perhaps the most eccentric manner ever seen on a cricket pitch – the entire team congregated in front of their travelling fans, nicknamed The Barmy Army, and moved like garden sprinklers! Quite a sight.
Roger Milla’s hip wriggle
Football has perhaps some of the most over-the-top celebrations (just check the number of football players in this list), but one celebration that no one will forget is Cameroon legend Roger Milla’s hip wiggle at the corner flag after scoring a goal. Every time he scored a goal, he would sprint for the flag and wriggle his hips. Age had nothing to do with it – he did the hip wriggle promptly after becoming the oldest man to score a goal in the World Cup at the age of 42 (1994 World Cup)
Usain Bolt’s thunderbolt
It is hardly surprising that the fastest man in the world celebrates with a gesture that many people call the “thunderbolt” – it is a bit like drawing an arrow back on an invisible bow. It has become so famous that many imitate it (football star Neymar being one of them) but Bolt does it the best.
Ryan Giggs loses his shirt!
During the 1999 FA Cup replay against Arsenal, Ryan Giggs ran half the length of the pitch with the ball and then smashed it into the net. He then stunned many people by taking off his shirt and waving it wildly. It resulted in a “shirt removing” celebration frenzy that so worried the FA that it put in a rule making removing a shirt during play a bookable offence. Many feel that it was Giggs shirt removal that triggered Flintoff’s decision to do the same in a match against India, which was in turn paid back by Sourav Ganguly at Lord’s. Hair raising stuff!
West Indies’ Gangnam Style
You have to hand it to the West Indies – they find the coolest dances to celebrate their T20 World Cup wins. If 2016 saw them dancing to the more local ‘Champions,’ 2012 had witnessed them turn in a more elaborate performance to Psy’s worldwide hit, Gangnam Style. Chris Gayle led it and shook a mean leg at that time too!
Hugo Sanchez’s Somersault
Christiano Ronaldo might be the darling of Real Madrid these days, but in the eighties, few could match the goal scoring skills of Mexico’s Hugo Sanchez who played for the club. And he celebrated each goal with a somersault. Small wonder Madrid fans were head over heels in love with the man. It was a move that Germany’s Miroslav Klose would pick up and repeat sometimes against the instructions of his coaching staff!
Petr Korda’s scissor kick!
The Czech Republic’s Petr Korda was known for his amazing court coverage and stunning backhand. Oh, and a trademark scissor kick in the air whenever he hit a particularly good shot. His coach was terrified he would tweak his hamstrings but Korda went ahead and did it anyway. So popular was the kick that the media actually did one in his honour when he won the Australian Open in 1998. His daughter Jessica Korda is a golf star today. And she does the scissor kick too.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s dive to glory
Many people were shocked when English club Tottenham Hotspur signed Jurgen Klinsmann for the 1994-95 season. Although a World Cup winner and one of the best strikers in the world, the German had a reputation for ‘diving,’ or going to ground at the lightest touch (or even none at all), something that was despised by English crowds. Klinsmann’s reaction was to go diving towards the crowd after goal he scored at Spurs. They loved it. And his celebration became part of football folklore.