2012 Summer Olympics: Olympians get their good luck charms - and sports bras - ready for London
"The main lucky charm I have is a four-leaf-clover key ring," Matt Emmons, who'll compete in the shooting competition, revealed recently. "My wife and father gave it to me at the Athens Olympics."
"I had a little unfortunate accident which cost me a gold medal," he said of a misidentification of his target, which led to Emmons firing upon the wrong bullseye. "After that event, Katie and my father-in-law Peter came up to me and said 'We really admire how you handled that situation; we want to give you this key ring that's brought us good luck over the last few years.' I've kept it with me ever since."
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Some athletes' good luck charms, however, are a bit more intimate. "I have a lucky blue sports bra," admitted cyclist Evelyn Stevens. "My older sister gave it to me, and I did a few early races with it and started winning. Of course, it wasn't the training or my ability, it was the blue lucky sports bra."
"Since 2009, I have worn that sports bra in almost every single bike race I've competed in," she said of the well-used garment. "Everyone asks me if I wash it, and I do."
BMX rider Arielle Martin-Verhaaren, inspecting her ring, said always keeps hers close. "I do have a lucky charm, a Tungsten band that my husband gave me to race in," she explained. "Before I hop in the gate, I give it a little kiss."
"It reminds me of him, and what's important to me," she explained. "At the end of the day, no matter what, when I cross the finish line he's gonna be there."
"I have a pink and blue dinosaur -- his name is Dynamite," grinned gymnast John Orozco, talking about a stuffed animal he's treasured since childhood. "He's got a scratched up eye and a stitched-up tail, but he's perfect the way he is. He's been through a lot, and that's what makes him for me."
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Sometimes these lucky charms may seem silly, but since these folks are Olympians, the results can often be difficult to argue with. "My girlfriend's team wore pink - neon pink, to add to it - laces for breast cancer awareness," explained track & field star Christian Taylor. "Then one day I was like, let me take part in this. Well, I haven't lost since."
Watch the opening ceremonies on NBC Friday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET Then, NBCOlympics.com will be streaming live all 32 sports and 302 events.