In sports, a split-second can make all the difference to the outcome of a match or game, and it often happens that a competitor or spectator calls the result too soon, often leading to some sort of premature celebration. That overwhelming jubilation, which manifests itself in shouts of joy, wild gesticulation or even the immodest shimmy shake, is then inevitably mocked following the realisation of the true result. Below are some of the more memorable premature celebrations caught on camera in recent time.
1. Debbie misses the final stroke
Being the mother of the most decorated Olympian the world has known has seen Debbie Phelps celebrating in every manner imaginable. Swimming legend, Michael, ended his career in 2016 at the Rio Olympics where, by age 31, he had 23 Olympic titles and 28 medals. However, when Phelps took to the water at the 2012 London Olympics for the 200m butterfly, he was miraculously pipped by South African swimmer, Chad le Clos, by one stroke. Not realising that her son had just missed out on the gold, Debbie threw her arms in the air and shouted exuberantly, celebrating what she thought was Phelps’ making history as the first man to win the same event in three straight Olympics, only to be informed by her daughters, Hilary (left) and Whitney – both of whom were watching the scoreboard – that ‘He got second’. However, like any supportive mom, she clapped for her son’s still impressive silver achievement.
2. Don’t shimmy too soon
American basketballers are known for their showmanship. It’s a sport that lends itself to swagger and self-celebratory dance moves but it’s important to check that you’ve actually made the shot before any back patting begins. Basketballer, Kemba Walker, of the Charlotte Hornets, played it a bit too cool in December 2016 in a game against Miami Heat after his three-pointer, turning and performing a shimmy while, in the background his shot rims the net and pops out. Walker did wait an extra second to check if his shot was going in but it just happened to be an unlucky bounce.
3. Jump for the skies
For British high jump Olympian, Robbie Grabarz, an erroneous flag raise resulted in a premature celebration which was then later appealed during the Rio Olympics. Grabarz managed to clear a jump of 2.33m – matching Ukranian, Bohdan Bondarenko – and, although there was contact, the bar stayed in place and an official raised the white flag indicating it was clear. But while he was celebrating, the bar unhinges and falls down, forcing the official to switch to the red flag of doom. Grabarz then went on to appeal this decision with the referees who ruled in his favour, however, team Great Britain still missed out on a podium place. A real pity as Grabarz was aiming to become the first Brit to win multiple high jump medals at an Olympic Games and surpass his 2.33m clearance at the London Olympics.
View the video: https://twitter.com/elbize/status/765782128999170048
4. The Infamous Putt
Although Australian golfer, Michael Clayton, won the PGA Tour of Australasia seven times between 1982 and 1994, he is most well-known for an extremely unfortunate celebratory move (although some report it was merely a mishap) that resulted in a one-stroke penalty. It was during the 1997 Australian PGA Championship when he lost grip on his putter – possibly attempting to twirl it in celebration – and it tumbled towards the ball he had just hit. In his haste to rectify the manoeuvre, Clayton dove towards the putter, knocked it into the ball and then the ball went on to hit Clayton as he was lying across the green.
5. Get to that line in time
University of Oregon runner, Tanguy Pepiot, gave competitor, Meron Simon, the biggest gift during a 2015 Pepsi Team Invitational. With a good lead during the 100m and the finish line within his grasp, Pepiot began his premature celebrations, taking in the cheers of a 3 000-strong crowd and slowing his pace, only to be pipped by University of Washington runner, Simon. Pepiot’s face, once showing jubilation, quickly turns to disbelief and then despair before he collapses, hands across his face.