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From the Editor
The Best of the Best
In the 70s, Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner worked out at a gym where I was eventually employed as a weight training instructor. Jenner earned a football scholarship in but a knee injury that required surgery in his freshman year put a stop to those dreams. He then switched gears to focus on the decathlon, and in 1976 won the gold medal in the Summer Olympics. Jenner was declared “The World’s Greatest Athlete.” But was he?
It’s traditional to call the men’s Olympic champion in the decathlon “The World’s Greatest Athlete.” Likewise, the titles “World’s Fastest Man” goes to the winner of the 100 meters in the Olympics, and the “World’s Strongest Man” goes to the winner of the super heavyweight division in men’s weightlifting. Let’s look at some numbers.
The current world champion and record holder for men in the decathlon is Ashton Eaton. Here are his results in each of the 10 events at the 2015 World Championships: 100m, 10.23; long jump, 7.88; shot put, 14.52m; high jump, 2.01m; 400m, 45.00; 110H, 13.69; discus, 43.34m; pole vault, 5.20; javelin, 63.63; 1500m 4:17.52. Remarkable results but none of them would put him in the finals of any single event.
Regarding more traditional measures of strength and power, I was told Jenner’s best clean and jerk was 253 pounds. I don’t have any numbers for Ashton, but I heard 2008 Olympic champion, Bryan Clay, at 180 pounds bodyweight, power cleaned 334 (although one website says he’s done 363), benches 354, and squats 598. A 363 clean is impressive, but consider that there are weightlifters at about the same bodyweight who clean 100 pounds more than that.
Regardless of an athlete’s strength, power, speed, or jumping ability, it would be difficult for any non-track athlete to challenge a world-class decathlete in any of their 10 events. The skill required to excel in these events, especially the field events, gives the decathlete a major advantage. LeBron James is unquestionably one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but it’s safe to say that if he started now, he could never high jump 6’9” or throw the javelin 208’ as Ashton has. It’s a bit like Rhonda Rousey trying to outbox Holly Holm.
At the high school level, most athletes compete in multiple sports. Like a decathlete, to excel in all their sports, they need to have a balanced workout. Yes, weight training is important, but it’s also necessary to work on speed, agility, jumping ability, and flexibility. Are there programs that will improve your bench press better than BFS? Absolutely. Are there programs that will increase your flexibility better than BFS? Of course. But one of the goals of the BFS program is to develop the total athlete, which means the workout must be balanced. Specialization has it’s place, but not for most high school athletes.
Who is the world’s greatest athlete? Guess we’ll never know. But if you want a complete workout that will develop all the qualities of athletic fitness, you can’t beat BFS.
Kim Goss, MS
Editor in Chief, BFS magazine
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