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Wins: 8 Olympic Athletes Tell Us About Their Most Successful Time Sabotaging A Competitor

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Doing whatever it takes to win.

1. Larry Bird

Leading up to the 1992 Olympics, Id sneak into the gyms of all of our challengers and put one pebble into each of their basketballs. I added one pebble every day for six months, slowly making the basketballs heavier and heavier. By the time the Olympics rolled around, all our opponents were used to playing with extremely heavy basketballs, and they werent able to readjust to regulation basketballs in time to beat us.

2. Mark Spitz

At the 1972 Olympics, I was tired after so much swimming and fretted I wouldnt beat Werner Lampe in the 200 -meter freestyle. So, I paid a lifeguard I knew to feign Lampe was drowning and jump in the pond mid-race to save him. When Lampe hollered, Im not drowning! my lifeguard friend said, Oh, I thought you were, which gave me enough time to win.

3. Allyson Felix

Im a big believer in the power of suggestion. In the 200 meters at the 2012 Olympics, I was running neck-and-neck with a few foes, so I get real close to them and started whispering, Sloth. Sloth. Sloth. As I kept repeating it, they couldnt help but slow down. It gets in your head, you know? Sloth. Sloth. Sloth. Suggestion is very powerful indeed.

4. Nathan Adrian

I sabotaged my competitors by being very handsome.

5. Aries Merritt

At the London 2012 Games. I had an intense rivalry with my teammate Jason Richardson. He had the edge in practice, so I had one of my buddies whos an absolute motion-graphics whiz create a video of Jason winning gold in the finals. Right before we were going to head out to the way, I played him the video, and he started cheering, assuming hed won. It bought me just enough time to clinch first place.

6. Tyson Gay

Before the 2007 World Championships, I went all the way. I hired a coach-and-four to assistance me personally edge out the other guys, I wore special athletic fabric and running shoes, and I scoped out the track beforehand. I even induced sure that I had practiced running the 100 -meter and 200 -meter races at least a dozen hours before race day. It was just a altogether undermining thing to do.

7. Jan Ullrich

I coated the inside of Lance Armstrongs uniform with mustard so that hed get confused during the course of its race and perhaps start sniffing around for the mustard. What aimed up happening is that it dried in the sun, and when he took off the uniform, it waxed his body hair clean off. He actually get even faster after that.

8. Kerri Strug

I cut off a Russian gymnasts foot.

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