Sunday, August 7, 2011

Interview with the World's Greatest Athlete

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Iron Man Challenge, the perfect competition for determining the world’s greatest athlete. I probably should have mentioned at some point in that post who the current greatest athlete in the world is. I shall rectify that mistake now.

His name is Adam Newland, and he’s an educator from the Athens, Georgia area. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2008. In addition to teaching, he coaches baseball, football, and wrestling. When he’s not teaching or coaching, he’s often updating his excellent blog, “The TV Czar Says…” He truly is a man of many interests and talents.

I was able to catch up with him recently and ask him about his thoughts about the Iron Man Challenge and being the greatest athlete in the world. A transcript of that interview is below.

Let's Be Logical: First of all, after 8 months, does being the greatest athlete in the world still feel special?

Adam: Every time I think about my victory, it still feels fresh. I can still picture standing atop the Showtime Bowl seats doing the title belt celebration.

LBL: Describe your thoughts going into last year’s Iron Man Challenge. Were you confident? Worried?

Adam: I felt pretty good about things. I knew there were some events where I didn’t have a chance of winning, but I felt that I could limit the damage there while winning some of the other events.

LBL: Which Iron Man Challenge event is your favorite? Least favorite?

Adam: My favorite is the Penalty Kick Shootout. You get a great understanding and appreciation for the pressure that pro guys are under when you do that event. My least favorite event is poker. I like poker, but if you run cold for one hour, one night, you can give up a ton of points. Furthermore, it occurs towards the end of the night and makes it tough to keep from falling asleep.

LBL: If different from above, which events are your strongest and weakest?

Adam: I think my strongest event is racquetball. I am the best racquet sport player of our group. Couple that with a decent understanding of the game, and you get complete domination. My weakest event has to be swimming. I can’t swim, and my lung capacity is seriously lacking.

LBL: From looking at the event list in a previous post, people can see that the Iron Man Challenge is obviously very physically challenging. What would you say is the hardest thing about the Challenge that people who have never participated might not expect?

Adam: You don’t anticipate how mentally exhausting the whole ordeal is. Because of a lot of the competition is based on skills, it requires laser sharp mental focus for 14-18 hour period without a let up. If the Challenge is close late, the person with the stronger mental focus capacity will carry a significant advantage.

LBL: How do you personally train for the Iron Man Challenge?

Adam: I trained in an event specific nature. I thought about all the different events and worked those skill sets. The main thing I learned last year from the year before is that being in great shape helps a ton. I was a lot lighter last year than the year before and it translated into better physical stamina because I wasn’t lugging around an extra 20 pounds of weight.

LBL: What advice would you give to a new competitor?

Adam: Understand your strengths and make sure you absolutely dominate those events while finding ways to mitigate your weaknesses. You can’t just say I suck at hoops so I won’t train and take last place. Those points add up fast.

LBL: Let’s switch gears a bit. In addition to being the reigning greatest athlete in the world, you’re also one of the founders of the Iron Man Challenge. Tell us a little bit of the history of the competition (e.g. Who’s idea was it? How did it get started? How has it evolved? et cetera)

Adam: The idea itself actually sprang up somewhere in the neighborhood of the year 2000. My older brother (and co-founder) discussed the idea amongst his group friends. The ideas were there, it just never materialized. It continued to come up in conversations throughout the decade, which culminated with my brother and I basically looking at each other and saying “Screw it, let’s do this thing.” We were fortunate enough to get Jaime Tyler to join us that first year, and we were off and running. We pretty much winged it the first year, but I think we have gradually changed this thing for the better with a more sophisticated process for event selection.

LBL: What goes into deciding which events are included in the Challenge? Are there any events you would like to see added or taken away for the next Iron Man Challenge?

Adam: Every year, the Iron Man Committee (myself included) evaluates last year’s schedule and search for ways to improve and or streamline the Challenge. We want the events that are going to test athletic skill in addition to tests of brute strength, speed, and endurance. It’s no secret that Usain Bolt could run faster than I could, but could he beat me in racquetball? I say no. Therein lays the greatness of the Challenge.

I don’t need any events to change (except for disc golf, ugh), but I wish we could find a way to make a two-day affair. Some things have been sadly cut due to time constraints (ex. Golf). That being said, a two-day showdown would be a logistical problem for some people.

LBL: Finally, do you intend to defend your title this year?

Adam: I consider myself a fighting champion. I refuse to rest on my laurels. I look forward to being crowned the first two-time winner of the Iron Man Challenge. This is the year I make history.

Based on his responses, I thought of another question to asl Adam after the initial interview:

LBL: You mention the importance of mitigating weaknesses and focusing on strengths. Does that mean you feel that strategy plays an important role in the Iron Man Challenge? Is there a lot of strategizing (or strategery, if you prefer) from event to event during the actual competition?

Adam: Strategery plays a huge role.  For example, there are a few events where you are superior to me and there will never be anything I can do about it.  Therefore, I don't focus on trying to be better than you at those events, but I will do my best to make sure I am better than everybody else at those events.

Strategery also plays a role from event to event.  You can't max out on every event or you will be shot by 4:00 pm.  I start with a rough outline of the events I am going 100% to win and adjust as the points start piling up.  I know if I miss my mark, I have to find some places to pick up some points.  On the flip side, if things go better than expected, maybe I get to ease up on a few events that I thought I was going to have to go 100% in.


Please leave any comments or questions about the Iron Man Challenge in the comment section below. If any questions are directed towards Adam, I’ll make sure he gets them. Follow this blog for recurring updates and information about the greatest athletic competition in the world, the Iron Man Challenge.

1 comment:

  1. My wife's reaction to the interview: Wow, you guys took that seriously.