Olympic cyclist Laura Trott has revealed an odd ritual – she must step on a wet towel in her socks before a race.
She’s not alone when it comes to good luck charms and beliefs.
But which sports star or celebrity is the most superstitious?
Tennis ace Serena Williams , 35, who has been crowned Wimbledon champion seven times, swears by several pre-match rites. The American admits: “It’s annoying. It’s like I have to do it and if I don’t then I’ll lose. And I’m not losing because I didn’t play well, I lost because I didn’t tie my shoe the right way and it’s totally ridiculous because I have to use the same shower, I have to use the same sandals, I have to travel with the same bags.”
It sounds like hard work.
Footballer John Terry has also had trouble remembering all of the superstitions he has to adhere to before a big game.
The 36-year-old Chelsea player says: “I started off with a couple of superstitions and because we did so well, kept winning and winning, I ended up with about 50 of them. Then it was a case of remembering them for every game. I always have to park my car in the same spot and when I drove in at lunchtime before the game, the space was taken and I was unsettled.”
Birds of pray
Beatles legend Paul McCartney takes the well-known magpie One for Sorrow rhyme to heart.
“Probably the only thing I’m superstitious about is magpies,” he admits. “Living in the country I see a lot of them. You see one and you spit or salute. I happen to spit.
“I love it when you see two for joy. I don’t shoot or catch them like a lot of people. They’re not supposed to be good for other songbirds and a lot of keen gardeners don’t like them, but I do. I’ve got lots. To me, it’s double joy or triple joy. I’m very inspired on a spring morning if I see a crowd of eight.”
Makes sense from the writer of Blackbird.
An old wives’ tale passed on by his grandmother means Hollywood actor James McAvoy , 37, finds himself spouting gibberish at strangers on a monthly basis.
He says: “On the first of every month I have to say ‘white rabbit’ to the first person I see. My grandmother taught me that. It’s good luck.”
While a black moggie can ruin rapper Missy Elliott ’s entire day. The 45-year-old rapper admits: “If a black cat walks in my path, I will immediately turn around and go home, even if I am on my way somewhere.”
Food for thought
You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at her svelte figure, but US pop star Ariana Grande used to stuff herself full of cake as a child in the hope of landing an acting role. The 23-year-old star admits: “I used to eat donuts for good luck before auditions when I was little.”
It’s the luck of the Irish all the way for Castleknock-born actor Colin Farrell , 40. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them star confesses: “I wear shamrock shorts for luck on the first day of filming any movie. I don’t wear them to the discos and the clubs. I’ve worn the same pair for about seven films.”
Former F1 racing driver turned presenter David Coulthard also relied on lucky underpants early on in his career.
He said: “They were bought for me by my Auntie Elaine and I wore them to the point of destruction.
“When I had an accident and they cut my overalls away, I had these pale blue boxer shorts on – or what was left of them – and I was sticking out all over the place.”
Still, he survived to tell the tale.
And ex-Hollyoaks heart-throb Ricky Whittle insists his special superhero pants helped him foxtrot his way to the Strictly Come Dancing finals back in 2009.
The 34-year-old actor, who was runner-up to TV presenter Chris Hollins, revealed: “Every week I wore my Superman pants with a large S on the front for luck. I used to be a footballer and I’m superstitious about things like that.”
Hopefully he washed them in between waltzes.
Good vibe garments
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair wore the same pair of brogues for 18 years at Prime Minister’s Questions, admitting: “I know it’s ridiculous.”
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler wears his racoon-tooth necklace for good luck.” The 68-year-old singer has a happy history with racoons – adopting one as a boy. He adds: “I put him on my shoulder and went fishing with him every day.”
Golf superstar Tiger Woods, meanwhile, has a fixation with the colour red. “I’ve worn a red shirt on my last day of each tournament since I was eight.”
Another fan of the colour is Bridget Jones’ Baby star Patrick Dempsey. The 50-year-old actor says: “I have to have red shoes no matter what. They’re my lucky racing shoes.”
Power of nature
Dame Judi Dench fears the potency of innocent-looking bunch of blooms. The actress, 82, confesses: “I’ve always felt uneasy carrying real flowers on stage. It’s very unlucky. I suppose that’s because if the heads drop off you go flying and break your leg.”
Actress Julie Walters was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Billy Elliott in 2000 and at risk of dirtying the red carpet with her good luck charm. She says: “At the Oscars I had a lump of coal in my bag. It’s a working-class good luck thing. My lovely Jimmy Choo bag is all covered in black.”
It may be unlucky for some, but singer Taylor Swift swears by the number 13.
The superstar, 27, explains: “I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks. My first No 1 song had a 13-second intro. Every time I’ve won an award I’ve been seated in either the 13th seat, the 13th row, the 13th section or row M, which is the 13th letter.”
True Blood actor Ryan Kwanten, 40, is fastidious when it comes to odd numbers.
He says: “I’ve always loved odd numbers so I have to set volumes at odd numbers. It’s odd, just like me.”