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video: Great Moments in Premature Sports Celebration

Thursday, April 16, 2015


At the risk of eternal shame and ridicule, athletes continue to prematurely celebrate their would-be victories.  The latest and greatest example of this comes to us from Eugene, Oregon, where the University of Oregon Ducks hosted and competed against athletes from Washington and Kentucky in the Pepsi Team Invitational on Saturday.   

In the video, Oregon track and field senior Tanguy Pepiot slows down as he approaches the finish line in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, clasping his fists and pumping his arms in excitement, encouraging the crowd to join in his celebration; “Louder! Louder!” he must have been thinking.  The only problem was he failed to notice Washington junior Meron Simon coming in hot behind him.  Simon went into a dead sprint and managed to beat Pepiot by just inches and one-tenth of a second.  Certainly Pepiot will regret that moment forever.  He’ll almost certainly receive far more attention for this than if he had actually crossed the finish line first.  

In case he’s feeling a little blue, I thought I’d remind him that he’s in plenty of company.  For he and these others’ failure to learn lessons from one after the other resulting in unfortunate outcomes will not be forever immortalized on the internet for nothing.  

Utah Receiver Coughs Up 100-Yard Fumble Return TD - November 8, 2014:

Cheer up, Ducks, you were on the other end of one of the most memorable cringe worthy moments of college football last season.  Utah wide receiver Kaelin Clay made a very “not Top-10” play when he inexplicably dropped the ball before crossing the goal line on a would-be 79-yard TD.  The officials never blew the whistle, and the Ducks’ defense quickly responded with a 100-yard TD return on Clay’s fumble.

Meghan Rutledge’s Fist Pump of Doom – Women’s Moto-X Race, 2013 X-Games:

Fist pumping seems to be a common underlying issue in premature celebrations, and let’s be honest; it gets you nowhere (*cough* Jersey Shore).  This was certainly the case for poor Meghan Rutledge, the then-18-year-old competitor out of Australia who was one hairpin turn away from a gold medal when she decided to launch her fist in the air as she came down from the last ramp.  This caused her to lose control of her bike and consequently her spot on the podium:  

Cibona Zagreb Basketball Team Forgets How to Read Clocks, Loses to Partizan Belgrade in Fantastically Dramatic Fashion – 2010 Liga ABA Final

Given Croatia and Serbia’s fairly recent violent relationship, the fact that former enemies are able to come together in an arena and play a game of basketball together is a beautiful thing.  What’s not so beautiful is the entire Cibona team prematurely rejoicing over its 74-72 lead with 0.6 seconds left to play on the clock.  Belgrade’s Dusan Kecman paid no mind to the celebration on the court and launched a half-court shot that instantly wiped the smiles off every player on Zagreb’s face.  The video quality may not be the best, but I bet you can’t just watch once:

Stanford Falls to Cal with “The Play” – November 20, 1982

So the Ducks and Huskies may not get along all too well, but if there’s anything that can bring UO and UW fans together, it’s the comical misery of another conference rival.  Over 32 years ago, one of the greatest moments captured in premature celebration history (and arguably all of sports in general) when Bay Area rivals the Stanford Cardinal and the California Golden Bears met for the coveted “Stanford Axe.”  After taking the lead on a field goal with only four seconds left in the game, Stanford players incurred a 15-yard penalty on kickoff due to their excessive celebration.  Cal, in need of a miracle, got just that when the ball made its way player-by-player down the field, eventually ending up in the hands of Kevin Moen who was forced to mow down a trombone player from the Stanford marching band because the entire band had already ran onto the field to being celebrating even though the play was never dead.  No words can really do this event justice, you’ll have to watch for yourself:


GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.


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