Nike and their response to the O*ymp**s

I have to write the blog post title like that to stay the right side of LOCOG. Don’t want to get sued for using their name in vain. Well, anyway here’s a response from Nike which is a nice piece, but probably rubbish, when it comes down to the facts.

If you look at the real story, it’s just not true that we all have the ability to be great at an individual sport. I accept that we can all become the best we can, but beyond this, it’s down to physiology and our mental capacity. Lets look at the facts.

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover who won gold in the women’s pairs had been identified as strong candidates for brilliance through British Rowing’s Sporting Giants programme. In this, they not only check their physiology, but they go through some psychological profiling too.  As a junior Helen Glover ran cross-country internationally and Heather Stanning won a British Army scholorship to study sports technology at Bath University, so she was already exceptional and disciplined. That’s hardly leaving it to chance is it?

But I do think this is a brilliant way to find future winners. Physiology first, attitude second and then teach them how to do the sport brilliantly.

Bradley Wiggins is an even clearer case. The average male is 5’9″, Wiggins is 6’3″. His lung capacity is 8 litres, compared to a more normal 6 litres. That’s over 30% greater capacity. His resting heart rate is 34bpm compared to a normal man’s at 64bpm. ( I wish mine was as low as even the normal bloke) and his body fat is only 4% compared to 16% for a normal fit man of his age. Add to this the mindset to win and train for years and years to succeed and you have a rare beast indeed.

So, in summary, he’s a freak. A brilliant, brilliant freak. A total one in a billion and the finest fancy running shoes in the world aren’t going to allow you to compete with people who have a physiology as perfect as this.

I love the inclusivity of the Nike ad, but in summary. Doing your best probably won’t make you a champion in anything.