HSI: The Sprinters
is a Reservoir Sport
production, a television reality series aired on EuroSport
about the world-class sprinter
s affiliated with Hudson and Smith International. HSInternational is an organization led by legal agent Emanuel Hudson and track
coach John Smith that strives to advance the athletic careers and marketability of their clients; their documentary series is one of the methods through which they do this.
The series itself is a well-produced look at the athletes and their relationships to each other, their coaches, and their sport. While the average person may not think that something like the 100 meter dash is interesting enough to make a documentary about ("run fast and turn left" is how track-and-field is jokingly portrayed in some athletic communities), HSI advertises the sport by focusing on how the sprinting events are conceptualized. Coach John Smith and sprinters Ato Boldon, Maurice Greene, Inger Miller, etc. talk about the techniques involved in efficient running, touching on concepts such as conservation of energy, velocity as a product of stride length and stride frequency, and how to reconcile the paradox of taking the turn in the 200m while running a series of straight lines. That is, in fact, probably the greatest success of HSI; improving the marketability of track-and-field to a general audience.
One of the highlights of the show is how the athletes share their philosophies and approaches to different events. There are segments in the series in which one athlete takes the spotlight and walks us through how they run a particular event. They refer to set distances in the event as specific phases; a drive phase, an acceleration phase, and then "what we call holding on to what you got," a maintaining phase.
Also the stars of HSI really are among the best in the world; Maurice Greene ran a 9.82 100m at the 2002 World Championships, the closest any 100 meter sprinter has ever come to the 9.79 that Ben Johnson ran at the 1988 Seoul Olympics (Johnson's record and medal were later revoked after he tested positive for a banned substance, but that time is what every sprinter has had their eye on ever since). What you watch in the documentary really is the very best of the best, the pinnacle of human performance.
second, I really could care less.
Let me tell you something; there is nothing greater in life than someone who is so attuned with their body, so in touch with their sport, that a coach can make the simplest of adjustments in their stride, and you can see the movement come back into rhythm. There is a moment in which Maurice Greene can't seem to stop staggering off the blocks, "I'm all over this damn lane." Smith tells him why, he's not completing his stride off the blocks, "instead of going for quickness, go for power and distance ... put it this way, you're so fuckin gifted, your gift is workin against you now." And slowly, after another sprint, after two, after three, you see the efficiency, the fluidity seep back in, you see the ease with which Greene leaves the blocks, accelerates, and hits vmax.
His coach says, "I'm glad we back. This is where we strong. You take nothin for granted, you just go on right back down to basics, tear this baby apart, put it back together, and we got a brand new operator."
Technique always degrades. The athlete always thinks he knows better, the body is always going to try to take the easy way out when you put it under a certain strain, this is why athletes have to train so consistently, there are a lot of things they do in training that are for reinforcing the desired motor patterns as much they are for strength or speed or endurance development.
This is only part of the beauty of track-and-field that HSI exposes to the audience. The athletes and coaches all seem to believe that in order to succeed in any sport, one must understand that the body and mind and spirit all function together, they have this passion for what they do, and that passion sucks you in.
As of April 6, 2007, episodes 1-4 of HSI: The Sprinters can be found on youtube (search for 'hsi'), with a few episodes on eSnips.