Human Limits

Exploring performance and health with Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

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After the Olympics: What’s Next?

Over the next week or so I am going to wrap up some issues raised in the saturation posting I did on London 2012.  After that I am planning to do several series of longer but less frequent posts on issues like obesity, training, aging, exercise and heart health, and perhaps health care reform.   There will also be topical posts when things related to human performance pop up in the news.

Here are a few random thoughts about London:

  • The success of London 2012 shows just how well things can go in an open and democratic society.  What happened in 1936 in Berlin was not the future. What happened in 2008 in Beijing is not the future.   A quote from Churchill seems appropriate here.

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

In the long run we are ahead in spite of all of the chaos, confusion, distraction and pettiness that go with open societies.


  • What will become of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps?  At age 50 will they be fading dissipated stars looking for a gig on reality TV, or will they find other ways to contribute?  Here is a link to a mother’s letter to Phelps about his future.  People like Roger Bannister and Johan Olav Koss show that it does not have to be all down hill after an early athletic peak.


  • How about the joy of the U.S. men’s basketball team and Coach K after winning the gold?  It is easy to caricature these guys as spoiled prima donnas.  Who would have thought they were motivated by things other than personal fame, statistics and money?


If you are having post Olympic withdrawal, my advice is to set some sort of athletic or exercise goal and start now, 2016 is closer than you think!



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