Wearing Red Helps You Win In Sports

With the Olympics wrapped up in China and the total medal count tallied, red seems to have won. China, who dressed completely in red, came out winning an astounding 51 gold medals, and the top 10 overall medal winning countries all include red in their national colors. So, we’re taking a look at some recent research to see if wearing the color red is really more favorable in athletics.

Seeing Color

There are two kinds of cells in you eyes that are responsible for interpreting light: rods and cones. Rods are responsible for seeing at night, only taking in a narrow range of light (only white), and making it possible to see light at a greater distance. Where as cones recognize a wider range making it possible for humans to recognize color.

Photo by koka_sexton

Many animals, including other mammals, see in different ranges of the light spectrum than humans. Our ability to see in the shorter lengths was developed by primates whose vision adapted to see red, outdoing their lemur relatives who could only see green and blue. And because it was developed as a survival skill — picking out ripe fruits, those that contain a higher energy value, red has become immediately recognizable to us.

Red Research

Researchers have found that referees favor those who wear red.

Forty-two taekwondo referees were asked to score a series of video matches of two fighters, one in red and one in blue. The two sets of clips were identical except the colors of the competitors was switched in one of them.

The study revealed a 13 percent favor towards the fighter wearing red. They also noted that in matches were the two athletes ability was unevenly matched, the favoritism towards red was not significant.

In another study done during the 2004 Olympic games anthropologists surveyed four sports showing competitors were more likely to win their contests if they wore red uniforms or red body armor.

Photo by koka_sexton

“Across a range of sports, we find that wearing red is consistently associated with a higher probability of winning,” report Russell A. Hill and Robert A. Barton of the University of Durham in England.

The anthropologists made a preliminary analysis of the Euro 2004 international soccer tournament, in which teams wore jerseys of different colors in different matches. They found that five teams scored more goals and won more often when they wore shirts that were predominantly red, as opposed to blue or white jerseys.

A case can perhaps be made that most of the recent (article originally published 5/19/2005) winners of U.S. sports championships have at least a touch of red on their uniforms: among pro teams, the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, the Detroit Pistons. And in college football, Southern California.
USA Today

Red’s Dominance In Sports

Besides this years Olympics, there have been many examples of red wearing teams dominating their sport, here are a few:

Chicago Bulls

Photo by I’ve Gone Slightly Mad…

The team was founded in 1966 and is generally regarded as one of the NBA’s most successful franchises, and is well known for having one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history during the 1990s, winning 6 championships in 8 years with two three-peats. The Bulls won a record 72 games during the 1995–96 NBA season and helped spread the popularity of the NBA around the world.

Detroit Red Wings

Photo by Dan4th

Stanley cup winners 11 times.

Manchester United

Photo by anwer2007

The club is the second most successful in the history of English football and by far the most successful of recent times, having won 20 major honors since the start of Alex Ferguson’s reign as manager in November 1986. They are the Premier League’s reigning champions, and have won England’s top division 17 times, one short of Liverpool’s record of 18 league titles. In 1968, they became the first English club to win the European Cup, beating S.L. Benfica 4–1. They won a second European Cup as part of an unprecedented Treble in 1999, before winning their third in 2008, 40 years almost to the day after their first. The club also holds the record for the most FA Cup titles with 11.

Header Photo by koka_sexton

Sources: Taekwondo study, MSNBC, Live Science & USA Today

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (http://thepostfamily.com/), a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.