We run for all sorts of reasons -- to lose 10 pounds, to win an Olympic medal, or simply because it’s fun. Some even run as a spiritual practice. Today, why we run - and how far and how fast can humans go?
If you’re watching the Olympics, you have to marvel at the almost superhuman athleticism of it all. Simone Biles on the balance beam. Michael Phelps in the water. Usain Bolt on the track. Athletes just keep getting better and better. Or do they? Mark McClusky, the author of “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” tells Anne Strainchamps that it's not really the athletes who've gotten better. It's science and technology that have made the difference.
There's a nagging question at major sporting events: Are the athletes cheating? Steroids, human growth hormones and blood doping techniques are extending the outer limits of performance, and athletes can use them if they want -- unless they're professionals or Olympic athletes. But is doping really a problem? Australian philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu has a simple litmus test: What contribution is coming from the technology and what is coming from the athlete?
The '68 Olympic games changed everything for John Carlos. Standing on the podium after winning the bronze in the 200 meters, he and fellow runner Tommie Smith raised their fists in the black power salute in a moment that became known as one of the most controversial and iconic in Olympics history. Carlos remembers that moment and the fallout as well. He tells Steve Paulson he was inspired by a meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Suprabha Beckjord runs as a spiritual practice. She's a follower of Sri Chinmoy, who believed athletics could enhance spiritual enlightenment. So he set up various weightlifting, swimming, and distance running events. His most famous - and most grueling - is the annual Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. The race, which exceeds the distance from Boston to Los Angeles, takes place around a half- mile loop in Queens, New York. Suprabha Beckjord ran those 3100 miles for 13 years in a row. Her fastest race was 49 days and 14 hours, an average or more than 63 miles a day. Rehman Tungekar talks with her.
J.R. Thornton was once a serious tennis player on the junior circuit. Then he moved to China and spent a year training with the Beijing National Team, where he discovered just how different the life of an aspiring champion could be. His novel "Beautiful Country" reveals the incredibly difficult demands on young athletes in China.
Does anyone still hitchhike? Cult film director John Waters does. At the age of 66, he hitchhiked 2,800 miles, from Baltimore to San Francisco. He tells us about the people who picked him up, along with some who didn't. And did the American Interstate System pave the way for fear and violence on the highways?
Before the airplane was invented, ballooning was all the rage, and many people thought this was the future of air travel. Cultural historian Richard Holmes describes the remarkable history of the hot air balloon.