1. What It's Like to Coach the USA Olympic Track & Field Team 50:15

Sue Humphrey says she was a “not very good” athlete growing up–but she loved sports, and she found her niche early: as a teenager she started helping other athletes.  She excelled at Coaching track and field, and worked her way up to college Coaching (experiencing the beginning of Title IX), and eventually the international stage–although the field wasn't always welcoming to a young woman.  At the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, Sue was a member of the Coaching staff for USA's Track and Field team–and in 2004, she became head coach, dealing with everything from overseeing schedules to taking media calls in the middle of the night asking about athletes' drug tests.  Sue shares what it's like to coach at the Olympics (the glamour of napping under a table on the field, for example), the importance of developing rapport with athletes, and what to do when an athlete is disappointed in a performance.  

In this episode:

  • What's required of a Head Coach of an Olympic track and field team (03:00)
  • The value of developing rapport with your elite athletes (08:45)
  • Coalescing competitors into teammates (12:45)
  • Olympic coaches vs. personal coaches (15:52)
  • Experiencing the Opening Ceremonies (and what Sue did during Closing Ceremonies)(18:44)
  • A typical day at the Olympics for Sue (24:16)
  • Sue's complaints with the current NCAA and elite Coaching systems (27:15)
  • Her thoughts on being an Olympic coach vs. college coach vs. age-group coach (30:52)
  • What makes her so successful? Coaching philosophy (31:56)
  • How to help athletes who are disappointed with their performances (34:47)
  • Sue's path to Coaching (37:43)

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Elizabeth Pearson Garr has spent a lot of her life asking questions. A daughter of a professor and a principal, as a kid she loved sitting at the “adult table” during their dinner parties so she could participate in the “real” conversations.

Elizabeth went on to graduate with honors from Harvard with a degree in History and Literature, and promptly attended professional cooking school to become a food writer. That led to various career opportunities, including becoming one of the first employees of the Television Food Network; writing/producing gigs at networks from PBS to E!; anchoring/reporting at the NBC affiliate in Billings, Montana; earning a graduate degree in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University; and various and sundry other things. The through-line to all this has been curiosity. Elizabeth is a skilled interviewer who loves diving deep into research, finding connections, and telling good stories.

Elizabeth has a husband, two daughters, and a fluffy white dog who rarely leaves her side.