Three golden rules in sport: always try your best, avoid doping, and always – always – make sure you’ve won before celebrating for the cameras.
After all, unless victory is 100 per cent certain, all that fist pumping euphoria can quickly make you look even more of a wally as you get pipped at the death, roundly adding to the egg-on-face factor. Which is something one athlete who ran the Peachtree 10K race in Atlanta this weekend knows all too well…
Though one thing's for sure - he's not the first sportsman to celebrate prematurely and he won’t be the last. Here are the moments that prove humble pie is a dish best served LOL.
Payne in the arse
Leading the pack down the home straight in Atlanta, US runner Ben Payne started slowing down a yard or two before the finish the line and began finger shooting to the crowd, only for a gut-busting run from British rival Scott Overall to hurtle past him and take the tape with a matter of inches to go. Rubbing it in, Overall later took to Twitter to offer his fallen comrade some advice. Oh how he’ll be wishing he holstered that digit pistol.
The epic buzzer-beater
During this now infamous title-decider in Croatia back in 2010, home fans were sent into a frenzy when they believed their team had snatched a last-second victory. So did the players. Only their frantic looking manager, seemingly the only one wise enough to know there was still time on the clock, knew the job wasn’t over. Moments later, Dusan Kecman sent a buzzer-beating shot sailing up in the air, landing straight through the hoop to silence the spectators. Scenes.
One lap too soon
Poor Riccardo Russo. With a name that cool he was destined to be a Moto GP champion – just a shame he fluffed his lines spectacularly during an Italian CIV Championship race in 2012, believing he’d crossed the line to victory when in fact there was another lap to go. Russo’s defiance, standing up on his bike and waving his arms as his rivals whizz past him, makes it all the more brilliant. All that hard work during a day’s toil around the racetrack, minutes from glory and he cocked it up magnificently.
Fish out of water
Nicknamed The Flying Fish, rugby league’s Glen Fisiiahi was firmly put in his - ahem - plaice for one memorable game during his U20 days with the New Zealand Warriors. Powering through on a breakaway, the winger was more bothered about saluting the heavens than touching the ball down. Call it what you like, even “the greatest try save of the season anywhere” as the excitable commentary team did, but it all comes down to foolishness. Perhaps this is why the All Blacks do the Hakka before matches.
One of the most famous premature celebrations happened during a 1982 college football game between the University of California’s Golden Bears and the Standford Cardinal, now simply known as ‘The Play’. After conceding a field goal, California found themselves 20-19 down with four seconds left on the clock. At the same time, the entire marching band for Stanford had marched on the field to celebrate, allowing their rivals to make full use of the ensuing chaos and use the band as a sort of human shield. The final charge over the line for the win is superb. Golden indeed.
Chest thumping in the direction of a near empty crowd? The sure-fire mark of a goalkeeper who’s not very good yet just pulled off a good save. Sadly for Moroccan shot stopper Khalid Askari, he was that concerned with turning to celebrate his stop that he failed to notice it spinning down and rolling in the net behind him. Schoolboy stuff.
Why you should never cycle with no hands
“Look mum, no hands! Look mum no teeth.” Falling off a bike while riding no-handed is a rite of passage for many two-wheeled mavericks. That said, you’d have assumed by the age of adulthood they’d have mastered it, never mind at a professional level. In this classic clip, a rider on the final stretch decides to wave his hands in victory. Losing control of his bike in the process and careering to an ungraceful landing, his rival comes in from behind and by the time the leader gets back on the saddle he’s demoted to second. His final scramble would be heart breaking if it weren't so funny.
Worst poker face ever
Poker star and first class swaggerer, Dwyte Pilgrim gambled with his emotions and lost during one all-in Poker contest. Content he'd won it on his last hand, even the commentary team questioned why he'd celebrate with his family and every other audience member before the final flip of his opponent's card, Karma inevitably cut short his high-five fest. “I deserved that.” Yes, yes you did.