The Ready Room: Sprinting and how Attitude Affects Performance with Olympic Track Legend Gail Devers & Brett Hawke

By Fitter and Faster Staff

Recorded: Thursday April 23, 2020 @ 3pm EST
Suggested Audience: Athletes and coaches across all sport

Gail Devers had competed at the highest level running in the 1988 Olympics, but in the following years was afflicted with a disease that left her barely able to walk, and doctors even considered amputating her feet.  She was able to battle back and win the 100m dash at the 1992 Olympics and then repeat as champion in 1996, becoming only the second woman to do so.

Olympic Swimmer and Coach Brett Hawke and Fitter and Faster CEO David Arluck sit down with Olympic Track & Field legend Gail Devers for a discussion on how she developed her positive attitude, mental determination, and confidence to separate herself from her competitors.  Learn how these skills transfer from the track to the pool and how to use this time to improve your own mental game!


  • 3:59 What’s the backstory on your famous nails?
  • 5:44 When you grew your nails, didn’t that affect your start?
  • 6:13 Were you the fastest starter in the world?
  • 7:36 What did you focus on in order to get those hundredths of seconds?
  • 11:59 Where were you mentally and physically before your race?
  • 16:14 How did you respond after not winning the 100m hurdles in 1992?
  • 18:12 Did you feel pressure and expectations in a specific event?
  • 21:52 What are you like in the ready room?
  • 26:38 Do the physical gifts differentiate the top 1-2% or is it something mental?
  • 30:34 Do you think mental belief can be developed?
  • 35:07 Do you coach the mental aspects of sport as part of the training?
  • 39:45 Do you think after the pandemic that the level of performance can improve as people learn to harness their mental ability?
  • 44:40 How did your body image shift from being a teenage girl to a woman?
  • 48:28 What was the biggest obstacle that you struggled with during your career?
  • 50:44 Did you have someone you sought out to help through those obstacles?
  • 54:45 Did you end up getting treatment for your thyroid?
  • 55:08 Is it easier to diagnose Graves’ Disease now than it was back then?
  • 57:37 What was the one race where you felt like you were running faster than you’ve ever ran before?
  • 1:00:05 Did you consciously work on relaxing your face during practice and races?
  • 1:03.43 Did you change your training and taper as you approached the Olympics?
  • 1:05:24 What is Graves’ Disease?
  • 1:06:04 How do you handle the anxiety with kids and their parents’ expectations?
  • 1:08:15 What was it like training with athletes who were competitive with you?
  • 1:09:58 What’s your most memorable moment?
  • 1:11:58 Did you ever have plateaus in your career?
  • 1:17:03 How did you deal with teammates who had negative attitudes
  • 1:18:50 When did you start running?

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