Quite a few posts on social media regarding both the volume of work heaped on this years Games athletes, and the difficulty of some of the events.

Heat exhaustion, cracked ribs, torn hamstrings, ACL tears, you name it, it seemed like there was a heavy toll.  And by the end of the weekend, some were just standing there, unable to perform what was asked of them.

Obviously no one wishes any harm to befall these amazing humans, but every year we see them capable of more and more (their Heavy DT times are better than most can do with the regular weight), and thus the tests used to find the fittest on earth must increase in difficulty.

And every time you think the organisers have gone too far, a few athletes step up and make it look like child's play..... I remember watching the 2009 Games, where the first event was a 7km desert run that had multiple people dropping from heat exhaustion (including Jason Khalipa), immediately followed by a deadlift ladder in which multiple people PR'd and about 16 guys used up all the weights.... this sort of thing was actually thought to be scientifically impossible.

I was reminded of a story told by a close friend of Bruce Lee's.

Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile. So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five miles.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.

Of course I'm not suggesting that the Games organisers push until someone dies.  And I don't think Bruce Lee was suggesting anyone pushes until they die either.  It was simply a blunt way of making a point that imposing limitations doesn't help anyone.  I don't think the Games athletes would want that.  I don't think you should want that in your daily life.

Darren Ellis