So, let’s get it straight from the outset…  Here at Cognac Expert we’re not advocating that athletes should be drinking cognac (or any other alcoholic beverage) to enhance their prowess.  But when we came across some information about the so called ‘bad boys’ (and girls) of sport who somewhat don’t conform to the ‘ideal’ role model to the masses, we though it might be kind of fun to see how and if cognac fits anywhere into the equation.

And once we started digging, it was amazing what we came up with.

Sipping Cognac on Wimbledon Centre Court?

… and that’s the players, not the spectators!  Famous French tennis player of the 1920s, Suzanne Lenglen, was known for taking sips of cognac between points on court.  It obviously worked for her, as she won 31 championship titles between 1914-1926.


Not only that, but she became one of the very first female international sport stars, and first female tennis celebrity.  The French media gave her the nickname, La Divine, and she was known and loved by the public for her flamboyant (and undoubtedly for the time, outrageous) behavior.

Marathon Endurance?  Try Cognac for that extra oomph…

We’re pretty sure that it’s not a regular occurrence at the London, New York and other famous marathons of today, but back in the early 1900s, cognac was a recognized performance enhancer.

For example, take one Thomas Hicks.  A marathon runner who took part in the 1904 Olympic Marathon.  This was held in the month of August, in Missouri, so you can but imagine what the heat was like and the strain it put upon the human body.  So Hick’s coach naturally was prepared for this.  Not only with cold water to cool his protégé down, but with a cocktail of cognac, egg whites and 1/60th of a grain of sulphate of strychnine.  Yep – rat poison!  Not a mixer that we’d imagine does anything for the taste of the cognac.

Cognac at Wimbledon (and other sporting events)

In fact, he had two doses of this lethal cocktail.  It’s believed a third would have killed him.  However, he only crossed the finish line in second place, behind one Frederick Lorz.  But hysterically, just before the medal ceremony was about to take place, it was discovered the Lorz had also had a helping hand along the way.  But his method was to jump into a car and be taxied from mile 9 to mile 18. So Hicks was decorated with his gold medal…  and then taken straight to hospital.

Basketball: and a little half time pick me up

NBA champion, Ron Artest, certainly gets his place in the ‘bad boys’ line up.  And whilst most players take on isotonic drinks to keep their game up, he’s admitted to drinking Hennessy during half time.  This led to the nickname, ‘Halftime Henny’.  But probably a celeb that the cognac giant won’t be using in an advertising campaign any time soon…

Pacers v Bulls

And with so many big sporting events taking place now and in the near future – Wimbledon, The World Cup, Tour de France etc. – we’re pretty sure that a good deal of cognac will be being enjoyed by sports fans.  Either in celebration or to drown their sorrows.  But the contestants would definitely be better off leaving their enjoyment of eaux-de-vie until after the event.  Things have moved on somewhat since the early 1900s, thank goodness…


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Cognac at Wimbledon (and other sporting events)

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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