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Nearly five months after the release of The Sports Gene, Flotrack catches up with author David Epstein about everything and anything in the world of sports science. Epstein touches on issues that range from the history behind the Olympic 100m final to the rise and success of a certain Kenyan tribe in the marathon. Epstein also discusses the complicated world of drug testing, scouting talent in different countries, and constructive chats with other minds in the sports world.
If you haven't picked up a copy of The Sports Gene yet, you should (it'll make a great Christmas or very late Hanukah gift). Flotrack won't receive any compensation if you purchase the book - we've enjoyed Epstein's work for years and want his work to reach as many individuals in the sport as possible. Even President Barack Obama recently picked up his copy. Flotrack's tiny claim to fame is that we get a mention on page 98 for an interview with Jack Daniels.
We realize that you may not have 16-minutes to watch the whole interview, so we've left some timestamps to help you find the important information.
0:20 - What inspired Epstein to research and publish The Sports Gene
1:32 - Evaluating the Kalenjin at the Berlin, Chicago, and New York Marathons. "[This is] a tribe that has a source population the size of Costa Rica. Can you imagine if Costa Ricans went 1 - 5 in the Berlin Marathon, how outrageous that would be."
2:37 - The rise of the marathon and money on the roads
4:20 - "Every man who's been in an Olympic 100m final since the boycotted games of 1980... all have their ancestry from a tiny area on the coast of West Africa."
5:30 - "The chances of a good youth sprinter slipping through the cracks in Jamaica is like the chances of a great high school football player slipping through the cracks in the United States."
6:12 - Football speed versus sprinting speed
7:30 - Epstein shares his experiences in South Africa with The Science of Sport's Ross Tucker and the cross-pollination of ideas
8:46 - The 10,000 Hour Rule and conversations with Malcolm Gladwell
9:45 - The state of PED in sports, the lack of testing in Jamaica, and the supplement problem in track and field.
11:03 - How drug testing is moving towards intelligence gathering rather than testing.
12:40 - Adopting a tiered drug testing system for positive tests and athlete education (ex: the use deer antler spray).
14:10 - The reaction and engagement with fans and feedback from the sports science world