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Sex and critical sporting encounters

There is evidence having sex the night before will boost chances of winning, writes Atul Sondhi. Your opinion?
None | By Atul Sondhi
UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2006 05:55 PM IST

World's best football player, and world's most artistic hockey team. Both were recently in news for some wild fun or intimate relationships before critical games.

According to a British newspaper earlier this month, the livewire of Brazilian football team Ronaldinho broke the curfew during the World Cup 2006 to have sexual romps with his French girlfriend Alexandra Paressant.

Ironically, Brazil lost to France in the quarterfinal in their failed attempt for a second successive World Cup title and fourth successive entry in the final. The shocking loss to ageing French warriors was blamed on the key Brazilian missing out on much needed rest and recuperation.

Alexandra reportedly told the paper, "The Brazilian coach had banned WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends) from the team's hotel. But we couldn't bear to be apart. So, nearly every night he would come to my hotel room and we would make love all night. Sometimes we didn't even make it into the room, we would make love there and then in the corridor. We are mad for each other."

Now comes the news that the Pakistan hockey team suffered a humiliating 2-9 loss to Holland because the 'undisciplined' players spent the day before at a ''wild beach party."

How the Jang newspaper will define a wild beach party is not clear, but the language indicates that it may not entirely be pristine. Fun sans liquor or love is tough to believe, though there is no confirmation.

Ronaldihno gave in to the temptation and so did the Pakistan players - who may have just have warmed their eyes a little too much at a Barcelona beach. But the critical question the twin events raise is whether sex really helps performances.

A common belief in sports is that athletes should not have intercourse before performing, lest it weaken them. But this belief has not always had support. As far back as in 77 AD, a Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote, "Athletes when sluggish are revitalized by lovemaking."

In fact, one of the greatest long jumpers in sporting history, the incomparable Bob Beamon, had claimed that the only time he had sex immediately before a competition was at the 1968 Olympics. His world record-shattering performance at Mexico '68 lasted for over two decades!

Distance runner and three-time Olympian Lynn Jennings once remarked that "sex the night before solidifies my core feeling of happiness." John Stanton, founder of Canada's Running Room chain, is emphatic in his observation. "Having sex energizes a runner and enhances emotional fitness".

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