Muhammad Ali is said to have abstained from sex for six weeks before going into the ring because sex before a fight can affect performance. But recent research has suggested that a full recovery is possible only 10 hours after sexual activity. Some scientists have found that the effort used to make love is hardly enough to make a difference and it can even help reduce pain, while others have said that holding out could help concentration and giving in could use up the aggression so effective in some sports. However, Italian professor of endocrinology Emmanuelle A Jannini’s studies revealed the opposite, that abstention actually decreases testosterone so a session of sexual intercourse before the game could have just the right result. Perhaps not, though. In the 1974 Football World Cup final, the Dutch team are said to have been advised to indulge the night before. They scored in the first minute of the game, whereas the Germans, who had been told to abstain, were rewarded with two late goals, taking them to victory.

George Best, the footballing hero who famously 1

NO SEX BEFORE THE BIG EVENTalways had a beautiful woman on his arm, apparently told British chat show host,1’’J

Michael Parkinson that he thought the closest to a game he’d had sex was half-time.

Olympic ‘gender appraisals’

Stanislawa Walasiewicz, winner of gold in the 100 m at the LA
Olympics in 1932, was discovered to possess ‘male genitalia’ after
her death in 1980 • Russian sisters Tamara and Irina Press, who
broke 26 world records between them, failed to reappear in
competition after sex tests started in 1966 • Princess Anne was the
sole female contestant to avoid a sex test at the 1976 Olympics
• Sex tests were discontinued in 1999