Years after Swedish distance runner Mikael Ekvall crapped his shorts in the midst of a half-marathon, his photo still shows up on Facebook. You might’ve seen it with a “fail” caption or a demotivational poster—played-out viral image formats that were de rigueur at the time—or in any number of “world’s most embarrassing photos” compilations. Clearly, people still haven’t gotten over Ekvall’s uncomfortable grimace and the liquified shit trickling down his legs.
Paula Radcliffe stopped on the course and dropped a deuce en route to winning the 2005 London marathon. She didn’t get it all over herself like this poor gentleman, but it did happen in view of the fans and on live TV. Greg LeMond had the same thing happen during a Tour de France stage in ’89. He won that stage. And the whole Tour.
To the uninitiated it may be gross, but to those in the know there is a quiet respect, an understanding, and the attitude about not quitting once is what defines winners.