19 yr. old Michelle Jenneke, a hurdler from Australia was competing in the 100-meter hurdles at the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Junior Championship in Barcelona last week when she broke out into a racy pre-race dance.
According to Bleacher Report, the sports blog “With Leather” originally posted live-stream footage of Jenneke’s pre-race routine, but it was taken down and replaced with an “overt celebration of Jenneke and her dancing and running presented in gratuitous slow motion, and with an awful song over it,” causing the video to go viral, with over 3 million views in 2 days (watch Michelle Jenneke Dance Video below).
Reactions to the video are varied. One backlash has been that it objectifies women, negating Jenneke’s talents primarily as an athlete. A more affirming reaction observes her bright smile and youthful energy. “You have to appreciate anyone who enjoys themselves this much,” USA Today wrote.
Jenneke isn’t the first athlete to raise some eyebrows. Fellow Aussie, swimmer Stephanie Rice, posed in a scantily-clad “selfie” picture on Twitter. U.S. Olympians Hannah Teter and Lindsay Vonn both modeled for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
It turns out Michelle Jenneke is in more good company. Athletes have used routines and rituals for eons to enhance their athletic performance. For instance, defensive tackle John Henderson would have his team trainer slap him across the face as hard as he could before a game. NBA player Jason Kidd used to blow a kiss to his wife before every free-throw.
Alan Ley of The Sport Journal states that pre-race strategies loosen the body and puts the mind in a place of control and focus. Secondly, a negative attitude can influence the outcome of a race. “The simple act of smiling will create good feelings,” he says. “Wiggle, and move yourself to sensations that will help you build and maintain positive sensations.”
Michelle Jenneke’s warm-up dance and big smiles didn’t help send her to the London Olympic games, but she did place first in her heat, giving her credit as an athlete.
Fans have taken such a liking to Jenneke, Australian news added details about the track star’s personal life. According to News.co.au, Jenneke is a Sydney-area native from the northwest suburb of Kenthurst. Apart from hurdling, her hobbies include Australian football, soccer, handball and taking care of her pet cats and dogs.
Sky News reports, “this is only the beginning…expect to see the [Jenneke] wiggling — and racing — at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016.”
Michelle Jenneke Dance Video
Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke has gone viral with her dance warmup. The junior hurdler had a unique way of stretching prior to the 110-meter hurdles at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona last weekend.