Arrogance vs Confidence (Stop Showboating!)

It’s Monday morning, it’s cold and raining, and I’m a bit grumpy Smile

After watching some of the indoor competitions this past weekend, 99% of athletes executed well within their means.

There are, of course, a few who didn’t follow my rules:

  • No showboating, no waving to the crown, and no celebrations before you cross the finish line.  Afterwards, you can do whatever you want.
  • Always run through the line, no slowing down.
  • Always lean for the line or tape, especially in timed sections!

Pretty simple instructions, no?

I don’t mind the clowning around in the blocks, and I don’t mind the post-race dances and flag waving.  I just cringe when I watch the 2008 Beijing Olympic final on TV.  (Mind you, he did run through the line in the 200m to a new WR)

There are hundreds of examples out there, but one race that sticks in my mind was Steve Ovett losing a rare 5000m at Crystal Palace, London in 1980 (post Moscow Olympics). Kudos go out to John Treacy for never, ever giving up.

Here is the video on YouTube:


  1. Steve Williams says

    Did a lot of it myself , something about the passion of coming from far back in the sprints , don’t do it young sprinters the clock is all that matters, it is timeless, it will stand forever

  2. Mike Cohen says

    You’re right Jimson, there are many examples of this showboating at all levels: pro, collegiate and high school. There is no place for it–it is disrespectful to the competitors and our sport itself. I’ve been coaching over 25 years and I love when the showboat gets beaten. Show some class–quiet confidence is all that’s needed.

  3. Pat Charles says

    I have a different take on that Olympic Final. I honestly believe that when he saw what was going on, he was too surprised to keep his composure. In a final with one’s closest competitors, one expects that the glance at 80-85 meters would show someone, not that expanse of space, especially when his start was “normal.”

    Excellent website/blog. One day, I may make it to a Masters competition and personally meet and thank you for the resources and motivational words that you provide.

    Thank you again.

    Patrice Charles

    • Jimson Lee says

      @Pat, I asked the great Steve William this very question on why Bolt showboated in 2008, and he gave a great analogy about driving a (fast) sports car convertible in the country roads… you get drawn into euphoria, you just smile and look around… nothing else matters I remember Ben Johnson saying the 100m was “exquisite hell”. But I am happy it was a one time deal in his early days. Now he runs though the line. He has to, he has Blake and the Americans gunning for that win.

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