Ws Around the World

It’s become a signature display of UW pride: Badgers hold up both hands with thumbs touching and index fingers pointing outward to form a W. Jubilant fans “throw up the W” for TV cameras or while posing for photos. Former UW football coach Bret Bielema takes credit for popularizing the gesture when the Badgers played Miami in a bowl game in 2009. While Miami fans formed a U for university,

Bielema had the idea to change the U into a W. “When we won that game, the kids flashed the W all over the place,” he says. The symbol took off after Bielema used it in a Big Ten Network commercial and popular defensive end J.J. Watt x’12 made it a regular habit for the cameras. Now the familiar hand sign can be seen around the world, thanks to study-abroad students and other far-flung Badgers.

Published in the Summer 2016 issue

Tags: Alumni, Badger, Campus history, football, Student life

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