David Blair is a Paralympic athlete. He is a gold medal winner, took the gold medal in the discus throw at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Brazil, and took fourth place at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021. In this unique episode, Blair discusses feedback not in the context of the corporate world, but of the athletic world. He shares his story and how important feedback was in his journey to break a Paralympic record.
David Blair is adatabase administrator and a Paralympic gold-medal athlete. Hewon the gold medal in the discus throw at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Brazil and took fourth placeat the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021. Dave got into the sport as a teenager when he went out for the high school track and field team and discovered the discus throw. He had very little coaching in his early years in the sport but learned the technique through some videos provided by his high school coach and went on to win a high school state championship title against able-bodied athletes. He then was offered a division–one athletic scholarship to Weber State University, where he excelled again. Dave stopped competing in track and field when he graduated from college. Then 16 years later, after discovering he could compete in the Paralympics, Dave started training in 2015 for the 2016 Paralympics.
Troy Blaser (00:06):
Hello. Welcome to today's episode of Simply Feedback. The podcast brought to you by LearningBridge. I'm your host, Troy Blaser, and I am particularly excited to introduce our guest for today. His name is David Blair, and I'll tell you just a little bit about David. He is a Paralympic athlete. He is a gold medal winner, took, uh, the gold medal in the discus throw at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Brazil, and took fourth place at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Just a few months ago in the summer of 2021. Dave got into the sport as a teenager when he went out for the high school track and field team, discovered the discus throw but had very little coaching on it. He learned the technique through some videos provided by his high school coach but went on to win a high school state championship title against able-bodied athletes. And then was offered a division one athletic scholarship to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where he also excelled in various field events. So apart from all of those amazing accomplishments--gold medal, world record holder--David is also my next-door neighbor and has been for 20 plus years now and is a good friend of mine. And so today's episode is a little bit different for Simply Feedback than we've had in the past. But David, it's a pleasure for me to welcome you to Simply Feedback today. Thank you so much for joining us.
David Blair (01:36):
Thanks, Troy. And thanks for having me on, I appreciate it.
Troy Blaser (01:38):
This is going to be an interesting, um, like I said, an interesting sort of episode, maybe a little bit different than some of the other episodes that we have here on Simply Feedback. But Dave, I wonder, um, you know, I did a little introduction there talked about some of the highlights, um, but can you give us a little more background on your story on kind of what led you up to becoming a Paralympian? How did that take place for you?
David Blair (02:03):
Well, I'll tell you, I had, um, I was kind of born and knew from a very, very young age that I had a talent in my shoulder of throwing things very quickly and very far. And when I was just a young boy, I could already out-throw many of the men that I'd come across. You know, you know how you go on a campout or whatever, and guys, you get around water and they want to pick up a rock and throw it in the lake. And that's just how it goes. And so we were, I remember vividly being on a campout. My dad enjoyed the athleticism I was gifted with at birth, and he would always egg his friends on to try and have him throw a rock against me and they'd look at me and think, oh, this is no big deal. Cause I, you know, seven-year-old kid, six-year-old kid and they'd throw a rock out in the lake and I'd pick up a rock and throw it out like a very obvious distance farther than them.
David Blair (02:68):
And they'd look at me and look where I threw and then pick up another rock and do it again and I'd out-throw them again. Like it just, it was just a talent that I was born with. And so then being able to find a way to apply that to, uh, took a little while I, you know, I played sports as a kid growing up, but in junior high I found, uh, track and field and was able to finally put this gift that I had into good use with doing some of the throwing events and you know, it worked out well for me. My, I came from a family with, with not a lot of, uh, income. I knew that if I was going to go to college like I wanted to, I would need a scholarship. And I thought maybe athletics would be the venue for me to do that.
David Blair (03:43):
And you know, uh, I had a high school coach reach out to me and he said, he was from a high school I wasn't even going to go to, he said, look, if you're, cause I also played baseball, I played a lot of baseball. And he said, if you're going to look to get a scholarship, you need to look at track and field because it's a lot easier to stand out. We know as coaches and recruiters in college, who the best athletes are in any given event, but it's really hard to prove that in, in a baseball field. And uh, you know, lucky for me, even though I was a young teenage boy that made sense and I listened to his advice, um, and, and the rest kind of took off from there. You know, I was able to get some scholarship offers and picked and went to Weber State.
David Blair (04:26):
And uh, it's because, you know, I was able to hear and get that advice and participate. And I won the state championship in Utah and that kinda got the attention of some people and, and that was able to get me those scholarships that I needed. So that's kind of where I came from. And then I competed in college, did pretty well in college for many years or for my, you know, eligibility. And then when college was over, I was done and I was happy to be done, you know, with the, I have a bad foot. And with that foot that's bad, it was really hard on the foot and, uh, caused a lot of pain. I have a lot of stress fractures in there over the years.
Troy Blaser (06:03):
Well, I was going to ask you to maybe tell us a little bit about your disability, give us some background on that. So we have a good idea.
David Blair (06:10):
Well, um, when you see me, you probably wouldn't know, uh, if you watch a little bit close, you'd notice that I have a little bit of a, uh, tromp to my walk, sort of a limp. A lot of my favorite is a lot of times people will look at me and say, you're limping. And I say, I always limp. You just never noticed it until right now, right, it all the time that'll happen to me. But, uh, yeah, it just with mine, it was born, uh, kind of a deformed foot. They call it a club foot, but it was, the leg was born from what my parents described to me wrapped up kind of a, when I came and was in the nursery, the leg was kind of curled up and on my, like up on my chest, um, kind of like a chicken leg.
David Blair (06:66):
It looked like, like, uh, like the feet, the foot was down prone, um, and they'd pull it away and it'd spring back. So something happened in the womb when it was developing that made it develop improperly. And on that development process, it didn't form properly. So I had many, many surgeries. They'd do things differently now than if, when I was born, today they should have been, they probably would have been able to get it fully corrected and I would have no impairment, but at the time they didn't know how to treat them properly. And so they brought it up, kind of put it in a proper position, and then put pins in it that went from the middle of my shin down to the end of my toes. Like they kind of made my foot look like a prosthetic foot and pinned it there and then had it heal there.
David Blair (06:46):
And so I don't have an ankle bone really there. And the foot is very largely fused. I have almost no movement. And because of that no movement, I can't develop a calf muscle. And because I can't develop a calf muscle, it's a skinny leg. In high school, they called me peg leg and it looks very much like a peg, but yeah, it's super skinny. It's super awkward, uh, for other people to see, I'm totally used to it. And by awkward, I just mean they're not used to seeing it. And so they share at it, naturally, they stare at it. But the nice thing about having a lower limb disability is that you can see when people are looking at you and they don't know that you can see because their eyes are on your foot. You know, if you had something wrong with your face or your upper body, you're more likely to catch their eye contact, but you can't catch it with the feet.
Troy Blaser (07:31):
That makes sense.
David Blair (07:32):
So, it's, it's fun when I go out, every once I forget I have it. Right. But when I go out and do things, I'll, if I'm in my shorts, I always am reminded. I'm like, oh yeah. People like to stare at your legs still.
Troy Blaser (07:44):
Well, I just, and I remember even hearing as, and we'll get into this more, but as you joined the Paralympic team and you know, you start to pick up uniform pieces and, and hearing you tell us how it was great because you were able to ask for shoes, shoes in different sizes, one for each foot, right?
David Blair (07:69):
Yeah. Yep. They had a kit once they sent me, I mean, for the Olympics and everything, since then, it's fine. But my first team I made and the first kit they sent me, I told them I need a right 12 and a left 8. And they sent me a pair of tens. I guess the intern on duty was like, eh, we'll split the difference.
Troy Blaser (08:19):
So the average.
David Blair (08:20):
Yeah, I couldn't raise it. I couldn't use either of them. So I just gave them to my daughter and she still uses those shoes. But so now I make a special note. And when I got to Rio, they did the same thing, but at least, not Rio, but when I got to Tokyo, they did the same thing. But at least they had, because of COVID they had, um, people on hand there in the village, and they went and changed, changed them all out. But yeah, it's just funny, people, people can't comprehend that you can have two different size shoes.
Troy Blaser (08:48):
So let's go back to your story for just a minute. You were telling us, you know, you were, you had kind of used your eligibility in college and you were successful in college with some, you know, conference champion, titles and so forth. But then that kind of was winding up and, and it seems like you were thinking, okay, well, that's probably it, as far as my discus goes, my field career goes. How did it proceed from there?
David Blair (09:13):
Very much so I was done. I was in a lot of pain. I still can vividly remember, like the pain in my very last throws at my conference meet as a senior in college, but the Olympics happened and everyone like everyone, I watched the Olympics, I like watching them. And I watched the 2012 ones and they had that Oscar Pistorius running and I saw him run. And I thought, man, why is he in the Olympics? Because he's not in a wheelchair, in the, in the Paralympics, right. And it had never occurred to me that there was events other than wheelchair events in the Paralympic games. And so I looked it up and found out that I would qualify and I would have qualified all these years and that they had events that I used to do in college as a division one athlete. And so I felt like there was this thing going on worldwide that I didn't know about, that I should have been in for a long time.
David Blair (10:10):
And so, you know, it was, um, I think it was 16 or 16 years later, I started training again and, uh, getting ready to try and compete. And, uh, it was just a couple years later, I went to Rio and won that gold medal. But I won it, um, when I won, I broke what was the Paralympic record, and I rebroke my world record. It kinda made me feel a little validated, like in all the games prior to that, right, I was able to throw, and still, anyway, it gave me a little bit of indication, but it would have been nice if I'd have known. Cause there's no way I was the athlete then that I was in college. I was a much better athlete in college than I was as a old man. Not old man, but older.
Troy Blaser (10:68):
It's crazy. It's crazy to think about what might've been. I mean, you're talking about the pain, you know, wrapping up your college career. And so maybe in some ways, it's good that you didn't know, but then you think, well, what could I have done? Just, just to get it out there. So some people have a sense, um, you know, the, when you broke the world record your throw, was it 207 feet and 11 inches? That was the first time. And then in the Rio Games, you broke it again with a throw of 210 feet and 4 inches. Is that right?
David Blair (11:31):
Yeah, I think so. Something like that. I know the metrics of it. I don't know, I don't know the Imperials of it, but yeah, it was, it's about the same though as a 76-yard punt. Just it's a, it's a, you know, it's, it's a good distance and it always surprises me that I can throw something that far. It, it, every time it happens, it just, but you know, it's based off of a lot of different things that I've been doing, but it's a long ways out and it always feels good to be able to do it.
Troy Blaser (12:01):
It is a long way. And I can testify to your unique throwing ability having lived with next door to you for all these years and having, I think one year, maybe a couple of years in a row that you and I competed in a dodgeball league together. And so I got to observe you throwing the dodgeball, thankfully you were on my team. Most of the time.
David Blair (12:23):
I forgot about that.
Troy Blaser (12:26):
That was quite, um, you definitely, you could see your talent compared to all the rest of us, um, trying to throw dodgeballs at one another in that league.
David Blair (12:36):
We, uh, I love dodgeball. I remember we were at a youth activity, real quick a dodgeball story. One of the youth came up and just blindsided me on purpose with a ball and hit me and, and then started taking off out of the gym to get away before I could throw the ball back at him. And he got the door open. It was the double doors. So he got both double doors open and stepped out into the hall. And I caught him in the back between the shoulder blades and knocked him to the ground in the hall.
Troy Blaser (13:06):
Don't mess with Dave, that's the message there.
David Blair (13:10):
Yeah, I yelled at him like hey, don't try that again, man.
Troy Blaser (13:14):
Well, okay. So, so the podcast is Simply Feedback. I wanted to ask you. If, if there's a time you can think of that where somebody gave you some feedback and maybe that had an impact on your life, on your athletic career, or even on your professional career.
David Blair (13:32):
Well, I think definitely that high school coach coming to me and saying, hey man, if you, if you're looking to go to college on a scholarship, you need to really consider dropping baseball. I was a good baseball player. I made the all-star teams, any all-star team I was available for I'd make. And, uh, you know, it just never, ever crossed my mind that my foot was an impairment. And so it was always odd to me because to me it's normal, right? So it was always odd to me that people would come up and say, this is extra neat. I think it's really cool. You're doing this and that your leg is, cause to me, it was my normal. So to everyone else, it's abnormal. But to me, it's my normal. And so, but yeah, definitely him coming up and saying something, uh, and then following that advice that he gave me that, that made all the difference. Like without that one and he never even was my coach. He just provided very, very valid feedback that definitely needed to be paid attention to.
Troy Blaser (14:37):
Pointed you in a, in a much more successful pathway. Oh yes. Getting you into college and everything that's come after that.
David Blair (14:44):
Yep. Yes. Without that one, that's definitely like a pivotal feedback moment that had not I listened to it, nothing would be how it is now athletically.
Troy Blaser (14:68):
Okay. And so thinking still about feedback. I, you know, one year I had the chance to visit you at the Olympic training facilities down in Southern California, where you're, you know, you're doing pretty intense training and there's a lot of resources devoted to training the athletes, both, both Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes. What are some ways that you use feedback in your training for your specific event?
David Blair (16:22):
Well, you wouldn't think it, but when you watch those guys throw the discus, it's deeply heavy in technique. And it looks like someone just turns in a circle and throws which, which anyone really can do. But if you want to throw like a long ways, you need to have a good eye from the coach. But the feedback, so you'll have guys in high school that'll do okay at it. And you'll have guys in college do pretty okay at it. But these guys, when they get to the elite levels, like at the high Olympic levels, their feedback is totally different than the athletes on this, when they start out. An athlete, when they're starting out, their coach will say, you need to do this. And they say, okay, I need to do this. And they make the adjustment. Yeah. And then try and build on the adjustment.
David Blair (16:10):
But when you get into the elite level, it's all based on feel and it's all how you feel the technique. I don't know how to describe it better than that because, and that's the downfall of these highly technical events is that the athlete themself has to feel that feedback for themselves. They can be given the cue and it does happen where they'll have improvements and do really, really well. And then the coach will say to them, okay, why did that happen? And they say, I don't know, they have no idea. Like they know they can throw far, but they have no idea how to throw far still. And so there's this like very, very thin line that gets crossed by the athletes where all of a sudden they have feel now. And, uh, you know, I was lucky enough to have a coach. My coach is, um, an Olympian himself.
David Blair (17:01):
He threw hammer in 2004 at the games out in Athens. And, and so our practices, when I first started working with him were a little frustrating because his feedback to me was always just really basic, really small, no, keep your eyes here, have your eyes be here, have your eyes look here. Or he'd say something about my neck, just like the smallest things. And I wanted something huge and expansive from him as far as an explanation so that I can do better. And he's like, no, no, no, you're, over-complicating it. You've got to do this and this. Because what he was trying to do is get me to hit a position that I could get a definite feedback of feeling so that then he could build on that, right. So when I think of feedback in, in this sport I do, and in competing, it's not hard to think of feedback
David Blair (17:61):
we get on microphones. You know, if you put a microphone in how it goes louder and louder and louder and louder that's happening because each time it hits and comes back, it's taking what it had before and amplifying that. Right? And so that's what we're trying to do in my sport. He gives me the feedback. I take that, keep it, and then move forward, get new feedback. And then now I have this foundation of these two things that I can build on to where you get it so that the third time you do it it's even better. Um, so the tricky part with doing this is what we're really training, truly training is our subconscious mind. That's why there's so much repetition involved. That's why there's so much just mundane, um, hours and hours and hours on the field with no one around doing a small thing is so that you can train your subconscious mind to have this feel so that now you can give it new feedback to improve, to improve on itself. A lot of, a lot of athletes in high school, uh, certainly in junior high, they never make it past that stage because the amount of grind that you have to put in to be able to get the proper feedback. And it's, again, it's all in your nervous system to where you can feel it, uh, it's too many throws it's too much time.
Troy Blaser (19:09):
That's interesting. It's very much, you know, you get to these high levels in your sport, in any sport, and it becomes very much about your, your mental outlook, how you're thinking and how you're feeling. Not necessarily, I mean, you have to have the right muscles and the right strength, but it's at that high end, it becomes more mental than physical in some ways.
David Blair (19:31):
Yeah, if you came to a practice of mine and watched it, and you went to a practice of kids in like junior high or high school, you'd really not see much difference at all. It's, it's the same. It's just that in mine my coach can actually work on the higher levels of the technique, which took years and years to build with the nervous system in the younger kids. So it's all the same technique or it's all similar technique, but it takes a long time to get them there to be able to do that. But yeah, you just take the fundamentals and the, the elite athletes have refined them to levels that literally took thousands of hours to get it to that point. And that's why when you watch them, you're like, well, that looks easy.
Troy Blaser (20:22):
Right? That's the point they've learned how to make it look easy, right?
David Blair (20:26):
Yeah. And in fact, um, that's the feedback I get a lot from my coach in practice he's I want a nice, easy throw. I want it to look really, really simple, back off, make this one really, really easy. And, um, he taught me that I could throw really, really far with minimal effort and I could throw maybe a half a meter farther with maximal effort. And so the secret is in being able to back it off enough to have an efficient throw, right and efficient technique. Because efficient technique is more effective and reliable than technique where you're exhausting yourself or where you're expending too much energy.
Troy Blaser (21:11):
I'm getting very much a sense that, uh, in, in the Karate Kid movie, Mr. Miyagi had it right when he had Daniel work on all of those different seemingly unrelated skills, right. Wash the car, wax the car, paint the fence, sand the floor. And he was really doing kind of what you're talking about. And that is teaching the basic technique and how it feels. And then we're going to apply that specifically to the sport.
David Blair (21:38):
Yeah. It's, it's that like many people that I've met, especially you'll find them at the younger levels. They've over-thought it. And the body, so we, when we train, we train on really off of feedback of feel and it's heavily feel-based and how did it feel? And then, well, it felt like that because you did this and because you did that, but it it's, it's, it's very surprising whenever I get around some of these other elite athletes, without fail there's this same foundation of the level of grind that they can put in is so superior to your average human. And they're just grinding the fundamentals in their event.
Troy Blaser (22:21):
They're willing to almost, we talk about it in, I like to cycle, I like to ride mountain bikes. And you talk about that. Sometimes it's the person who is willing to suffer the most, who's going to be the winner.
David Blair (22:33):
Yeah. And in a lot of events, that's how it is. You got to find the person that has found the sweet spot of suffering to where they don't over-train. And then they can put in, cause if you can learn to train, if you can learn to train and recover at a higher level and learn your limits, a lot of times people think that's what they think is that they need to push their limits. But if you push your limits, then you can't recover. And if you can't recover, then you can't train. And if you can't train, even just for two, three cycles, your competitors have. So it's this sweet spot where you have to really pay attention to your body and what it's telling you. And, um, go from there. But yeah, being able to sneak in two, three more effective cycles in training than your competitors makes a big difference.
Troy Blaser (23:23):
Well, I wanted to ask you about that. Um, because I know that you have a wife, you've got a family, you've got a day job. Uh, how do you fit your training and your competitions in, around what was already happening in your life with a family and a job?
David Blair (23:39):
Um, it's, it's like having two full-time jobs. You just, it, it doesn't pay well. It pays, to be a professional Paralympic discus thrower I think you could make more money at McDonald's flipping burgers. So you're not in it for the money. Uh, there is a little bit of prestige that can come with that, but yeah, it just became a thing, right. It just, it had to be a thing, a scheduled thing. So I'd go to work, come home, eat dinner, and then go throw and then come home and then lift and then go to bed. And that was like every day. So, and on the Olympic years, it gets really intense. Like you just, you, you don't feel like you can miss a cycle of training right. At all. You can't miss anything.
Troy Blaser (24:31):
So, David, you were talking about cycles. What do you mean by a cycle in, uh, for training?
David Blair (24:36):
Well, for me, it's, it's I think if you go to the gym and you see these guys and gals that have been there for years lifting, training, working, and you said, Hey, how often do you cycle? How often do you take a break from lifting? I talked to one guy and he said, well, I haven't missed a day of my gym workout in like four and a half years. But if you go to these elite-level Olympians, and you say, how long has it been since you had a day off? And they'll all tell you, oh, well, at the end of the season, I take six weeks off or I take four weeks off. So you can't grow, you can stay the same and stay at the same level, working your tail off always. But in order to grow, you have to train in cycles.
David Blair (26:26):
And this is what we've found in my sport anyway. I remember right after the Olympics in Rio, I just won gold and I was stronger than I'd ever been in my life. I was so excited. I came home and, you know, I talked to my coach and he's like, well, what are you doing now? And I'm like, dude, I'm going to go to the gym. And I want to hit some PRs in the weight room because I was so close to hitting these, I was really close to hitting some numbers that I was really looking forward to hitting. He's like, what are you talking about? I'm like, I'm going to go lift. He's like, no, you're done. He's like, you can't go in the weight room for six weeks. I'm like, what? Yeah. And he's like, I told him, I'm like, I'm going to lose all my gains.
David Blair (26:03):
He's like, it doesn't matter. Yeah. You lose them. You have to recover. But without that rest and recovery, you can't get the higher peaks. And when I'm training during the season, I train in six-week cycles. And so after six weeks have happened of training, I'll take a week off where I dump the weights down or even just stay out of the weight room period, and then go again. But our bodies need, they have to have this recovery as part of their cycle as part of their training. And, uh, I don't know anyone at the elite levels that don't train in cycles.
Troy Blaser (26:37):
That's, that's really interesting. What it brings to mind for me is something we talk, you know, in, in my job here at LearningBridge, we talk a lot about professional development, how you're developing in your career. And, and we sort of make this comparison. Um, you might have two different people in a, in a company where one person like never makes a mistake, they always seemed to be just gradually, you know, rising in the company with no mistakes ever. You might have somebody else that you know, is, is willing to kind of go out there and they might fail and they might, you know, they're, they might take a dip for a little while and then they'll, they'll be back again and continuing to improve. But it's more of an up and down improvement rather than just that continuous. And in a lot of ways, it's that person who's proven that they can, you know, they might fail at a project, but they can listen to feedback and incorporate that feedback and then improve even more. That person is more likely to advance than the person who never seems to make a mistake or who never, you know, has that dip. Like you're talking about our bodies, our minds need to have that ability to go up and down, whether it's physical training or, you know, professional development in a career.
David Blair (27:46):
Yeah I totally, totally agree with that. I would trust someone so much more in the work environment, that's not afraid to fail. In fact, I remember we were hiring people and that was one of the questions we asked them, what are you afraid of? And the majority of people say, I'm afraid of failing. And they think that it's a strength. And to me, I'm like, well, that means you obviously, you know, everyone's different. But my viewpoint of that is, well, that means you've taken the easy route.
Troy Blaser (28:13):
Yeah. That's a good point.
David Blair (28:14):
And you don't know the levels you can go to, if you can just get yourself out there and fail at a few things and get that feedback and grow from that.
Troy Blaser (28:22):
You know, you talked about hiring. Uh, so I'm just curious. What is your day job? I imagine it's not lifting weights and training to throw the discus.
David Blair (28:31):
It's not at all. In fact, I'm a, I've been in software for many, many years. I started as a QA engineer, but now I'm a business intelligence engineer. So I do mostly work in databases, um, from coding to reporting, to moving data around, to get results to people.
Troy Blaser (28:63):
It's interesting. It's fantastic. You and I, um, are in similar fields, I'm in we're, you know, working in IT, database programming, web programming, things like that. Well, okay. Let's talk for just a minute about, about the Tokyo Games. Um, just, just like the Olympics, the Paralympics were scheduled to happen in the summer of 2020, obviously, that was postponed for a year because of COVID. What, how was that to deal with the games being canceled last year or postponed, and then even just the uncertainty of it all leading up to it again this year?
David Blair (29:28):
You know, um, it's hard to describe like the mental state of athletes that are in the Olympic year, right? And there's a reason that performances are higher in the Olympic year than not. And it doesn't have to do with performance-enhancing drugs, for the most part. The level of intensity that they dump into an Olympic year is like, it's so different. It's so much different than any other year. So most events, most that you see every, every other year they have world championships. Every year they have a national championship, but every four years they have the Olympic games. And as a result of that, like training, everything just gets more focused and more intense. And that's how it always is. And so mentally, really, they can only handle that once every four years it's too much. I think personally if they said here's the Olympics, if they had the, the magnitude every year, it'd be too much.
David Blair (30:30):
But what this did is put these athletes in this state of mind of it's an Olympic year. I need to train like it's an Olympic year and now it's not an Olympic year, but next year it's going to be an Olympic year. So it gave them two back-to-back Olympic years of training. And it was, I've not talked to an athlete yet that it wasn't overwhelming for them. It was it's from different fields. Like I was just, I was on a panel, uh, speaking with a very well-known, uh, female swimmer, multiple gold medals. And she had the same sentiments. Like it was, it was too much. It was, uh, she said it was the most alone she's felt in any year, but I've talked to several of them that said that they just felt really, um, alone, because you're just not around people that are understanding what you're going through. And then you had to hit the reset button on all that and do it again. It just, I don't know, man. I, I hope it never happens again. It was, it was, you know, there's a lot of emotion that we all put into the Olympics, and the athletes that are there to perform feel that. And it's just, I don't know. It was a little too intense this last time.
Troy Blaser (31:43):
Did you ever have thoughts about, well, it was postponed for a year, maybe I don't want to continue or ramp that up again in 2021. Did you personally ever question whether you were going to go for it again or not?
David Blair (31:66):
Yeah, definitely. I mean, it was, uh, it was a big, 2020, was just a horrible year for all of us.
Troy Blaser (32:03):
David Blair (32:04):
And then you throw these athletes that are kind of behind the, the beauty of the Olympics is that we all love it and we all love to watch it and we all enjoy watching it. The sad side or the hard side of that is that you just can't even grasp the level of commitment and time and exertion and obsession that these athletes have dumped into every little tiny thing so that we can see it for 20 seconds on the screen or whatever, right. It's just, it's over, it's overwhelming when I, when I think about it. And so yeah, to have them say, you know what, never mind, we're going to try this next year. And in the middle of all that, they're still like, do you know what, this thing's still really bad. I don't like they were threatening a third year, right. And Japan was getting protests and saying, we don't want you to come. We don't want it to happen. And then there's, there was talks even just like a month before the games. Cause remember that's when we got the Delta that started spiking again. And they're like, you know what, we'll probably need to cancel it again. And it was just, yeah.
Troy Blaser (33:06):
It really messes with you. Yeah. Emotionally, mentally. So, and yeah, you've had, you're just coming off your, your six weeks of downtime and you haven't had to think about it and you've got some time still, so. Cool. Well, you know, I have loved this conversation, like I said, at the beginning, it's, it's cool to sort of have a different perspective on feedback in a different environment, other than the, you know, the corporate sort of environment that we often talk about on this podcast. So I'm really glad you were able and willing to join us and share some of your experiences. Um, if, if somebody wants to know more about your story or if they have questions for you, if they want to continue the conversation with you, what should they do? Um, what are ways that they should start to get in touch with you?
David Blair (33:61):
Uh, you know, an easy way would be just reach out on any of my social medias. Um, Instagram is a pretty easy way to find me with just a message and all of my, all of my handles, I'm never on Twitter, um, all of my handles though, on all they're all verified and they're all @iamdavidblair, all one word.
Troy Blaser (34:11):
I am David Blair. Cool. Yeah, I was looking at your Instagram account a little bit earlier this week and there's some great shots of you in action.
David Blair (34:20):
Yeah, they got some good ones lately.
Troy Blaser (34:21):
In the throwing ring, so good stuff. Very good. Well, thank you so much, David. I really appreciate your time and I've enjoyed the conversation.