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  • Hello, My name is tonic Kerry.

  • Apart from Ted, we have a killer panel here today to talk about extreme sports.

  • Where is the limit of human potential?

  • Joining me?

  • I'm super excited Toe have NFL punter Chris Cooley, Sports Illustrated reporter and author David Epstein and Thea's Skype.

  • We have MLB maven Doug Glanville and to Winter Olympians, ice hockey maven Hayley Wickenheiser and bobsledder Steve Mesler.

  • So, so glad to have you guys here today.

  • Let's kick it off to David.

  • What is the big question that's on your mind right now when it comes the landscape of extreme sports?

  • Actually, let me just point out also, I think Hayley Wickenheiser is also a Summer Olympian, one of the all right and softball and hockey, but actually what I would love to hear from this group because they represent a really diverse array of sports.

  • You know, two major sports in America and gold medalists.

  • What, over the course of their career was the single biggest change they saw in their sport, Whether it was something technology driven or or culture driven and what they think it, it will be for the next 10 years, anything, whether it's training, whether it's equipment or or just the way that teams and coaches sort of interact.

  • I guess since Chris is here, yeah, yeah, we were actually, I think talking about this and the thing that I've seen in football, it's really this embracing of advanced metrics, this idea that they saw what happened with baseball with sabermetrics, and they said, You can win more games if you know which stats are pertinent.

  • And so there's really this drive to figure out.

  • Okay, which stats matter, and how do we take advantage of of them?

  • And as a player, I've seen that in meetings.

  • It's it's evolved over when I first got into when I left is that now all of a sudden teams are showing charts and graphs with turnover ratio.

  • Percentage is what that does to your odds of winning the game.

  • What giving up a big play does to your odds.

  • You know what, what time of possession does to your odds and really trying to make players aware that this is important information and the players the players take it really seriously in meetings?

  • Or does it take some kind of, uh, scan?

  • Uh, I mean some guys do.

  • Some guys don't.

  • It's It's really once you start hammering at home over and over and over again, you know, guys, guys kind of pick it up.

  • But that also has to be something that's taught in schools.

  • Is the idea that statistics do matter and yet doesn't predict individual cases.

  • But over time, the stats will definitely predict what you're going to do.

  • You mentioned that MLB paved the way into that.

  • Doug, what are your thoughts here?

  • Well, okay, Chris, by the way, Big fan.

  • So your compensation who thinks?

  • Uh, ESPN outstanding.

  • But there's no doubt in baseball the Sabre metrics world has taken over how they evaluate talent, how they look at player performance.

  • It's a whole different culture.

  • I finished in 2005 and even since that time as an analyst, now I see how players are evaluated.

  • I even look at my own career differently because my on base percentage wasn't that high when I played.

  • I probably been an expert player right out of the gate, so it's ah, it's a new look, and I think that culture kind of spawn after, especially after the whole P D factor which is certainly part of this conversation that I watched 1998 Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, this whole revolution towards the power game and how these statistics were sort of seeing in terms of evaluating performance.

  • There's no doubt that I was the center fielder that wasn't a home run hitter, and very quickly my rule became much more geared towards being 1/4 outfielder off the bench because now center fielders were expected to hit 25 to 35 home runs.

  • So I think that cultural shift sort of reflected a new generation of athlete in baseball, and it's sort of followed a five year cycle of change.

  • Certainly the cultural aspect between it's a PDS and also this factor of sabermetrics completely changed the game.

  • Maybe we can ask Steve if you want to say, What was the biggest change you saw?

  • So Steve was.

  • It was a decathlete who then became a gold medalist in the bobsled.

  • Many bobsledders are often sort of multi sport athletes.

  • Before you could say what was the biggest?

  • Change yourself over your taxes.

  • How many when did your Olympic career start?

  • I started 2002 so I mean I was.

  • I came in when the U.

  • S.

  • Had won a medal for men, bobsled and what it was at that point.

  • I think 48 years I had won any kind of metal.

  • In 2002 the guys were in silver and bronze and then 2010.

  • We won the first gold in 62 years.

  • I think for me the biggest difference was technology.

  • So these guys were just talking about, you know, the athletes and changing training and changing in genuine peds.

  • Andy Pettitte was always a big change for me.

  • My first year in a sport, in 121 2002 there were four Americans that tested positive, plus a couple foreigners.

  • I think that was more more Americans.

  • That's a positive in my first year in the sport than through the rest of the nine or 10 years I was in it, so it definitely cleaned up.

  • So I'm outside of things, got better, but for us it was technology.

  • We're investing more wind tunnels, investing Maurin digitization is all of a sudden we're able to look at the details that we kind of American system haven't really looked at before.

  • So you know, one thing that you talk about is that's one thing that's changed in sports technology and bobsleigh.

  • That's been it.

  • Now all of a sudden, you know, between BMW getting involved with people who make cars for generations are now helping build bobsleds.

  • That's been the biggest shift where words Now we're seeing sleds go faster.

  • We're seeing the Americans get better faster, and it's due to do a lot of It's the technology.

  • That's right.

  • The guy who built the chassis, I guess for the for the sled that you won the gold medal and was a NASCAR.

  • Geoff Bodine's engineer, right?

  • Yeah, the boat on project.

  • The moment project has been Jeff in 1993 Year 1994 saw Americans using Swiss slides and German made spreads, and obviously we're getting the Castoffs leads.

  • So Jeff decided that he would bring his nasty guys in, and it took them about 15 years to get it right.

  • That's about how long it took them to actually put something together.

  • That would go and so, Haley, I want to hear the same from you.

  • But also I think I can remember exactly the league but I know you've played a little bit of men's professional league hockey.

  • ATT some point and you know, there's always sort of I think sports fans naturally sort of compare.

  • They look at women say, Well, could this woman play, you know, in a men's league?

  • And sometimes I wonder if that sort of devalue some of the accomplishments of female athletes on their own.

  • But it's sort of a natural comparison people wanna make.

  • And so, in addition to saying how your sport has changed, I'd also be interested to hear what that experience was like for you and whether you think other women might give it a try and hockey in the near future, for sure.

  • I mean, I agree along the same lines as everyone else in the sense that technology has come a long way.

  • And in the sport of hockey, which is such a team sport, the use of video analysis and even in real time, I'm like during a game, you know, there's usually an eye in the sky that's talking down to the bench similares they would use in football, but we're using that more and more hockey, and not only that I think individual players have really taken it upon themselves to do a lot of video work, watching your own shifts and evaluating yourself, trying to pick apart maybe another team's defenseman or opposition and figure out how you can win the little battles within the game of hockey that ultimately help you with the big game.

  • So that's a big transition from my first started, Let's say, the national team in 20 years ago.

  • I think the other thing in women's hockey which relates to your point about and pro hockey is just the quality of player that we have now.

  • The quality of athlete that we have now this does.

  • The sport has evolved training the physical training.

  • Every girl that's coming into hockey at a young age is getting a chance to start at five or six versus 12 13.

  • So that's really helped to grow the game a lot, Making progress, a CZ faras the pro side of things.

  • I was able to play the 1st 2nd divisions in Finland and Sweden at a pretty high level of men's hockey, and I did it because I wanted Thio develop myself as a player and get out of my comfort zone and tried Thio take my own game to the next level, and I think, you know, we've seen other goaltenders, my own, our own goaltender Shannon's Abydos, from our Olympic team this year is playing in the Southern Professional League for the Columbus team, and we've seen mental rail mother goalies in the past.

  • I would say that I don't know.

  • If you really want to compare, it is a little bit difficult.

  • I don't know that.

  • We'll see a lot of female athletes.

  • Female heart declares to be able to do that.

  • There's a lot of factors involved, and hopefully, ultimately, at the end of the day, the best thing I think for women's hockey would be to have ah w NHL league.

  • That would have professional hockey for women.

  • Cool, good, good.

  • I was gonna happen.

  • Just barely talk about you know, where athletes air started.

  • The girls are starting to play younger, and the athletes have changed and, you know, on the female side we've actually seen that happen a lot this year is a lot of people know there was somebody who maybe some people may or may not have heard of Lolo Jones, who came out and really helped elevate.

  • But, you know, credential.

  • That is the female bobsledder.

  • And you have a Warren Williams who went out on a silver medal in her first year in the sport.

  • So on the female side, the actually athletes have changed.

  • Herschel Herschel Walker.

  • Billy Joel came out in the nineties.

  • Did you?

  • Bob split, and since then, the bar is kind of state.

  • I mean, those guys weren't heads and tails better than everybody else.

  • But then you have a little low on that warm come out and in their first couple years in the sport, all of a sudden are dominated on winning Olympic medals.

  • So that's definitely big in a big shift for us there.

  • See the quality of athlete, especially the female side.

  • Really, there's some kind of athlete selection still going on, especially in sports.

  • I guess they're not, as many people have access to in sort of a nisi way, right there's that.

  • Yeah, you know, we've got football, baseball and hockey under you've got three of the four major sports and in North America, and then you've got the French sports like bobsled, where we inherit football players who either couldn't catch, couldn't catch a ball, couldn't take your hitter, couldn't run a pattern.

  • Oh, are we have track athletes like me who you just can't stay healthy doing certain events.

  • So there's definitely evolutionary, but again, on the men's side that evolution is kind of stalled for the last 15 or 20 years.

  • There's a high level of athlete, but on the women's side, it's still in 2002 was the first time they ever get women's bob studies of the game.

  • So it's still at that huge growth curve.

  • So obviously, this conference is a lot about innovation and change, and some sort of curious to hear each one of you were like king of your sport for a day, from youth to the pros and could make any change to the sport, including the pipeline or the fan experience or whatever, What, what that would be.

  • And and I'd love to hear from Doug first on that Well, well, I think a lot about you sports.

  • It's sort of Hayley brought that point up about this early specialization.

  • I'm sort of one end.

  • It's exciting that kids now can start in like five years old play baseball and they play 24 hours.

  • They play around the clock, But I think the flip side is create certain concern about that sort of one dimensional hyper focus where you don't have this balance.

  • So I would try to add more balance and exposure the players and athletes that are student athletes just trying to learn the different attributes in strength and weaknesses of all these sports.

  • It's concerning to me a time, first of all, the amount of money and investment that it requires for some young people to try to play a sport, a travel club.

  • They need certain spikes.

  • They have alternate uniforms.

  • I mean, you know, there's a lot of serious investment going on to capture the this young market.

  • But of course, as you recognize with these great athletes, I'm sitting on this panel with the large majority, don't have this opportunity to play at that next level.

  • And is that Sena's affair?

  • You hate to see that perceived as failure.

  • If you're not ableto play professionally, you want people to enjoy the sport inherently and have a passion for just athleticism and and all the games you can have from competitive access, so that's what I would change.

  • It's not specific, necessarily the baseball, but, you know, sort of getting back to that organic, you know, natural form where you can just celebrate sport.

  • Do you feel the same way?

  • Chris, in terms of like moving from like baseball and football is sort of America's favorite pastime.

  • Sports theme.

  • Early stage specialization is at.

  • Is that a good thing?

  • Is that a bad thing?

  • I think it's not necessarily a great thing simply because I played soccer and baseball growing up.

  • I never played football until high school.

  • And you know what that did was it allowed me to develop an athletic background, allowed me to learn how to control my body, how to move around.

  • And that is what you want is an athlete, because then you can start learning the fundamentals of everything else and start applying that to specifics and be like, Okay, I've learned how to kick a soccer ball.

  • I've learned how to move my body in baseball running.

  • You know, I've learned how to dive is a goalkeeper.

  • Now I can transfer that to kicking a football.

  • Now I can