Pursuit of Excellence


I’ve always been drawn to quantitatively assessed performance-based sports like swimming, powerlifting, weightlifting, cycling, and of course, track & field. I’ve competed in them, coached them, studied them. I love how pure and absolute they are. On a personal level, they offer a concrete opportunity to be better than you have ever been before. On a larger scale, they provide a chance to see how you compare against the rest of humanity. This is especially true for an activities like running….something that has been participated around the globe by practically everyone for millennia and is largely free of socio-economic mumbo-jumbo. The fact that there’s little subjectivity, strategy, or hiding behind the play of a poor opponent or an incredible teammate makes them incredible windows in to the pursuit of human excellence. So when I was asked to speak at a TEDx event, I decided to use this topic as the focal point of my talk. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first TEDx or TED talk that features track and field prominently and specifically sprinting. But really, the talk isn’t so much about sprinting but what we can learn about the pursuit of excellence from those who choose to compete in widely-participated, empirically-based activities that push the margins of human physiology.