The Most Focused Athletes of All Time> > > Team Ecuador’s Witch Doctor Superstitions originated thousands of years ago, when most men lived in tribes and knew very little about the world around them. Today, similar rituals still exist in sports – just with a more modern spin to them, although there are exceptions. In the spring of 2006, Team Ecuador sent a shaman, Tzamarenda Naychapi, to all 12 of Germany’s World Cup venues to banish evil spirits before the tournament. The shaman apparently drove some of the spirits out, leading Ecuador to its most successful World Cup ever (they’ve only made one other trip). Still, their run ended in a 1-0 loss to England in the Round of 16, after enjoying victories over Poland and Costa Rica in the group stage. Rafael Nadal’s Neurotic On-Court Habits Rafa’s behavior may not seem too out of the ordinary when you watch him on screen during the later rounds of Grand Slam tennis tournaments. However, this champion has a number of peculiar habits and world-views that set him apart, not only from the general population, but also from most of his opponents, who also take part in the lonely, often superstitious pro tennis circuit. In his autobiography, he revealed some of the things he hates (not dislikes, hates) off the court – ham, cheese, storms, animals and several other things. On the court, he has a number of habits that have been noted – Will Swanton of The Australian listed a slew of them (Inside the Mind of Rafael Nadal the Neurotic). Some examples: Nadal takes a cold shower 45 minutes before every match, he towels down after every point (even for aces and double faults), he points the labels of his drinking bottles toward the end of the court he’s about to play from and he never stands up from his chair before his opponent. If you’re not this neurotic, that’s why you’ve never made it to the Wimbledon Final.
During his college days and beyond, John found his niche in the sport of open water swimming. Aside from working for 10 years on the Atlantic City Beach Patrol, making numerous rescues, and winning numerous lifeguard races, he also had amazing success at the National and International levels. John was a 5-time US National champion in distances ranging from 10K up to 25K. He was a 7-time National team member and has competed at a wide variety of races including Nationals, Olympic trials, Pan Ams, Pan Pacs, World Cups, and World Championships. He has been competing at local open water races since 1990, attended his first Open Water Nationals in 1997, and most recently represented the USA in the 25K at World Championships in 2008. There were many swimmers out there with more raw speed in the pool, but very few could match his experience, endurance, tactics, and innate sense of finding the fastest, most efficient way to finish an open water race. From short races to marathons, flat lake swims to rough ocean or turbulent river swims, John Kenny is the most experienced open water swimmer in the United States, if not the world. Other coaches in the triathlon realm claiming to be "open water experts" do not come close.