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:

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • 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

  • 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.

  • Jimson,
    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

    • @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.