In addition to rigorous training and natural talent, top athletes have often credited their success to following pet rituals or superstitions. Onion Sports catalogs some of the most notable:

Cal Ripken Jr.: As his consecutive-games streak approached Gehrig's, Ripken Jr. got into the routine of walking slowly down the clubhouse corridor while screaming, "Cal Ripken coming through, move aside, nobody touch me!"

Roger Federer: Locks himself in a bathroom the day before each match and screams at himself for hours

Vladimir Guerrero: Saying that it is the only time he gets hits, Guerrero's personal superstition is swinging at every pitch thrown to him

Shawn Green: For reasons no one can understand, before every Friday night game, Green breaks bread and drinks a sip of wine while chanting in gibberish

Dick Butkus: Elaborate pre-game taping ritual involved having his left wrist taped, then his right ankle, then his right wrist and left ankle, then his torso, then the rest of his body; after 20 minutes, the trainer would cut him free of his cocoon, and Butkus felt free to take the field as a beautiful butterfly

Tiger Woods: Carefully wakes up, arrives at the course on time

Deion Sanders: During stoppages of play, football and baseball player Deion Sanders would chant his lucky mantra, "I'm Deion Sanders! I'm Deion Sanders!" until the game or season resumed

Lance Armstrong: After recovering from cancer and winning his first Tour de France, Armstrong always surgically removed one testicle before each of his subsequent six Tours de France