“Yawning seconds before the biggest moment of his career, Apolo Anton Ohno. surprized many spectators and viewers around the world.
Yawning does not indicate boredom or exhaustion, but it is a natural response of the body to release stress by taking in oxygen. Under stress the body gets depleted of oxygen and yawning refuels the oxygen going to the brain. In turn the brain sends out messages through the nervous system to inhale deeper and relax. Next the chest expands and the body becomes more relaxed and able to focus on the task at hand.
There was some research done on a group of students that practiced controlled yawning for a few minutes before they took a college exam and their grade point went up a letter grade from Cs to Bs and from Bs to As by practicing controlled yawning. Ohno himself confirmed, “It makes me feel better,” he said. “It gets the oxygen in and the nerves out.”