What Athletes Do If They Need To Use the Bathroom

There was a hilarious (and very informative) article in the New York Times today about what happens to athletes if they have to use the bathroom in the middle of a game or competition. Here’s a bit of the article, but I strongly recommend reading the entire piece:

At least the clubhouse is just a quick sprint away for baseball players. It is hard to hide from nature’s call when you are in the Tour de France.

“The problem is that in the Tour de France, it’s hard to find a stretch of road with nobody on it,” the rider David Zabriskie said in 2007, a year in which 10 riders were fined in early stages for “satisfying nature’s need in public.” For riders feeling that irresistible urge, those giant dancing promotional water bottles along the course must present a huge temptation.

Cycling experts say competitors in distance races relieve themselves in groups so they can work together to rejoin the race. Teammates are not expected to wait a few paces away, stare off in another direction or hum a tune.

Distance running and incontinence often are closely associated. Uta Pippig was the women’s winner of the Boston Marathon in 1996 despite dealing with cramps and diarrhea, which she explained in graphic detail after the event. The great Grete Waitz suffered from incontinence in the London and New York City Marathons.

“I had to keep running despite the shock of onlookers and worse, the television cameras broadcasting the event to millions of people,” Waitz wrote in her autobiography. Waitz won both races, which makes Pagan look like an amateur for grounding out.

Waitz was far from the only participant in the New York marathon with a concern: some runners have been known to urinate off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which is double-decked. From Staten Island to the Pyrenees, there is no place safe from a well-hydrated distance athlete.

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