10 Olympian Power Secrets

Javelin thrower Breaux Greer looks for his first medal in Beijing. Photo Credit: Thierry des Fontaines

Breaux Greer: Javelin 

The Hungry Veteran

Eight. That's how many national javelin titles Breaux Greer owns. Unfortunately for him, it's also three less than the number of surgeries he's endured in his 15-year career. There was the torn elbow ligament in 1998, the busted shoulder joint in 2002, and the shredded knee ligament in 2004. "My pain tolerance is off the charts," says the 31-year-old, who holds the U.S. distance record for a javelin throw (91.29 meters, or nearly 300 feet).

And yet, without fail, Greer jumps out of bed every morning and continues to work at his violent discipline, using his body to whip-launch a 2-pound spear the length of a football field. Even the slightest break in form can crack his back, a fear for nearly all javelin throwers. Not for Greer, though. His only trepidation: a second Olympic failure.

In the 2004 Games, Greer finished 12th—a profound disappointment, considering he had the longest qualifying throw. But he kept his focus and is now a single toss away from becoming the first American to medal in the men's event since 1972.

Get Fit in 18 Minutes

To condition his body, Greer runs stadium steps. He hits every step his first time up, every other step the next time, and then every third step. He repeats the cycle, always jogging down one step at a time. "By the time you hit 18 minutes, your legs are on fire and you can't breathe," he says. "It'll get you into shape real fast." It may be the ideal strategy for the business traveler: Try it in your hotel stairwell, using four flights as your stadium stand-in.

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