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Poor Winner in a Competition

by Ron Kurtus (25 June 2007)

A poor winner is a contestant who will gloat over the victory or taunt and ridicule the opponent. The winner is stating that he or she is superior to the loser.

The poor winner is in fact continuing the competition beyond its end to verify superiority.

The downside of being a poor winner is that it often results in resentment and a desire for revenge. It is also a way to lose friends and future competitions. Instead, the winner should be gracious in the victory.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


Gloating is the act of expressing great pleasure or self-satisfaction in the victory and the rival's demise in the competition. It is as if saying, "I sure am good." Although it is not actually ridiculing the opponent, there is the implication.

Typically, the winner of a competition will celebrate. But gloating goes beyond celebration and takes the form of looking at the losing competitor and smirking.

After Charlie defeated his younger brother Phil in a game of checkers, he would have a big grin or smirk on his face and an expression that implied, "I sure am superior." Phil didn't like that, but there was nothing he could do about it. He never admired his brother for that trait.

Gloating is usually not considered poor sportsmanship, but it does show a lack of character.


Taunting is directly insulting or jeering the opponent. It can be done after winning a point in a competition and after the victory. It is ridiculing the losing side. Again, it is going beyond the victory of the competition and trying to continue the verification of which side is superior.

Boxer Muhammad Ali would often taunt his opponents during a fight, pointing to his chin and telling them to try to hit him. Then after the victory, he would exclaim, "I am the greatest!" Although he was the darling of the public for his antics, many former opponents stated they did not like him as a person.

People don't like those that taunt.

Another example was when former four-wall handball champion Paul Haber would to taunt his opponents after defeating them. He would say something, like, "You stink. You don't deserve to be on the court with me." Even though he was a great player, not many people liked Haber.

Many professional sports have banned taunting, because it is considered poor sportsmanship and is detrimental to the sport.

The victor in a competition that taunts the losing side is considered a poor winner.


A contestant that gloats over the victory or taunts the loser creates hard feelings. Often the recipient will seek revenge.

Immediately after the German army captured Paris in the early days of World War II, Adolf Hitler rode in a parade through the Arc de Triomphe. He had a smirk on his face and was gloating over humbling the French with this symbolic gesture. But this was part of the revenge for the humiliation the French caused Germany at the end of World War I. Apparently, both sides were poor winners.

Sometimes the loser will try to punish the poor winner by refusing to play or compete again.

I experienced this myself by crossing over the line. My friend Al and I used to play tennis. We would put a wager on the game to make it more exciting. One time after beating him in a tennis match, I use my winnings to purchase a sweater. Then when Al and I went out that night, I told him several times, "Thanks for the nice sweater Al, I really appreciate it." I guess I was rubbing the defeat in his face, because Al refused to play with me for about six months afterwards. This was a lesson learned not to taunt your opponent, especially if it is a friend.

Instead of gloating or taunting your opponent after you win, it is much better to be gracious. You have proved your point and do not need to emphasize that you are better in the competition. Also note that you may compete again and being a poor winner may come back to haunt you.


A poor winner will gloat, taunt or ridicule the opponent. The winner is going beyond the victory to prove superiority. The downside of being a poor winner is that it often results in resentment and a desire for revenge by the losing side. It is also a way to lose friends and future competitions. Instead, you should be gracious in your victory.

Have pride in yourself

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