Contact Us

Is That Winning Olympian Actually Expressing the Thrill of Victory?

phelps
Shaun Botterill, Getty Images

The Summer Olympics kick off on Friday, and as you’re watching some of those feats of superhuman achievement over the next couple weeks, pay attention to the athletes’ body language — it could speak volumes.

“Triumph has its own signature expression that is immediate, automatic and universal across cultures,” says David Matsumoto, a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.

But he points out that “triumph” and “pride” are typically expressed in very different ways. For example, athletes who throw their arms above their head, clench their fists and grimace — signs of triumph — can look quite aggressive, something that may have played a role in evolution because it helped people in early societies demonstrate their status or dominance.

The signs of pride, though, are more subtle: competitors tilt their heads back, hold their arms out from their bodies and smile.

Expressions of triumph happen more quickly, often within four seconds of victory, and are an immediate reflection of a person’s success, but expressions of pride typically take 16 seconds since they reflect how the athletes feel about themselves. And those rules tend to apply regardless of the sport or the competitor’s land of origin.

“Watch that immediate reaction in the first few seconds after an athlete has won their medal match … and you’ll see this triumph response from athletes all around the world.” Matsumoto said.

[HealthDay]

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://tsminteractive.com using your Facebook account.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on TSM Interactive quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on TSM Interactive quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!