Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger? | David Epstein

  • Published: 29 April 2014
  • When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them.

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Comments • 6 288

  • - Pyroetheus -
    - Pyroetheus -  1 days back

    Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger, all in ever hour after, our work is never over.

    • ggman7117
      ggman7117  2 days back

      Best TED talk I’ve ever seen. Makes you think about people writing off ‘50s and ‘60s NBA players in GOAT conversation

      • jimmy e
        jimmy e  2 days back

        NO, Gravity is just getting lazy in it's old age

        • xavier petto
          xavier petto  3 days back

          stupid video .

          • Abbieq11
            Abbieq11  3 days back

            I tried screen recording this but it was too funny so I just saved it to a playlist

            • RAMSES II
              RAMSES II  3 days back

              The speech seems smart, but actually It's a theory you can't really proof it.

              • Jon Dovik
                Jon Dovik  3 days back

                If Owen has supplements and moderne weight training and better shoes he Will smash the wr

                • ThunderLips
                  ThunderLips  4 days back

                  For those that don't want to watch, the answer is "Yes."

                  • Brain Serum
                    Brain Serum  4 days back

                    The MLB Home Run derby, this year alone, says yes.

                    • Michael Stockton
                      Michael Stockton  5 days back

                      Sooooooo, yes we are getting better.....

                      • Nicholite
                        Nicholite  5 days back

                        When he say "as more we know about that limiter, the more we can do to push it back by just a bit" makes me wanna train like goku.

                        • Major Micah
                          Major Micah  5 days back

                          I’m 6 foot 1and a half but my wing span is 6 foot 6 I thought they gave me a huge advantage

                          • O corley
                            O corley  5 days back

                            Can't forget about the steriods, I mean "supplement s"😏

                            • james quilter
                              james quilter  6 days back

                              I’d be far more impressed if he spoke about performance enhancing drugs in sports and the impact they have had on athletic performance. He should also explain the parameters and methods of how testing is conducted in all sports.

                              • John eats popcorn from the Manor

                                For the title I would say no

                                The strong athletes were from 1930's in Germany after that nowadays the athletes are nah

                                • Martin Delira
                                  Martin Delira  6 days back

                                  Ok, so drugs.

                                  • LoneStarWolf Entertainment

                                    Give it time, with advancements in technology Humanity will eventually reach a point where the average person will be able to lift an M1 Abrams Tank like we lift sacks of potatoes

                                    • vikas dahiya
                                      vikas dahiya  1 weeks back

                                      See how this guy conveniently ignores sports like weightlifting where he just can't make any case against a definite improvement in strength of weight-lifters.

                                      • Ahaan -thakker
                                        Ahaan -thakker  1 weeks back

                                        What about better nutrition now,better equipment to train with

                                      • Avantion
                                        Avantion  1 weeks back

                                        See you stopped watching after one third and therefore are unable to extrapolate the points he made in the latter two thirds and apply them to weightlifting or basically any sport known to humankind

                                    • Owen Bain
                                      Owen Bain  1 weeks back

                                      Makes me think of Alex Honnold, pushing his limits just because its what he enjoys

                                      • mark lucking
                                        mark lucking  1 weeks back

                                        This guy has really done his home work, and as already mentioned is a machine gun speaker... almost no pauses, just fire, fire, fire... if there was an olymipics for speakers he might be in it.

                                        • Let's Learn
                                          Let's Learn  1 weeks back

                                          I'm 1 minute in and I can already tell you everything you need to know in 1 word.


                                          • Nikola Mitrevski
                                            Nikola Mitrevski  1 weeks back

                                            I read "Are *_atheists_* really getting faster, better, stronger?"

                                            • LuxuryJesper
                                              LuxuryJesper  2 weeks back

                                              I didn't even have to watch the video, to be able to answer this question: Yes, they are. Just the fact that performance enhancing drugs has improved, become more widespread and easier to get, has had a huge influence on this.

                                              After watching the video, there is one (huge) thing he doesn't get into: wealth. For instance, I'm from Denmark. My mom is 62, grew up in middle class, in a middle class area. When she was young, only 2/10 of the families in her neighborhood had a car. Today, most families in DK (unless they live in big cities) has 2 cars. Back then, they rarely went to the movies, out to eat etc. Now it's much more common, plus people can afford it. Our culture has changed dramatically.
                                              My point is, given that the average income has become a lot higher for most people, improved living conditions, higher average intake of food etc., has made the population stronger, taller, increased lifetime etc.

                                              • White Chocolate Syrup
                                                White Chocolate Syrup  2 weeks back

                                                Ngl I'm kind of upset I can't find any Epstein jokes in the comments

                                                • well well
                                                  well well  2 weeks back

                                                  White Chocolate Syrup One is in top comments

                                              • Cody Risling
                                                Cody Risling  2 weeks back

                                                For ONCE! YouTube has recommended something neat...I’m usually flooded with fuckin markiplier bs...yes I’m aware it probably because of other things I watch(game grumps for the stupid commentary). Doesn’t mean I want to watch an Asian man scream at me for no reason.

                                                • Baseshocks
                                                  Baseshocks  2 weeks back

                                                  People train younger, to get into the NHL you have to be on skates as soon as you can walk and be enrolled into a house league as soon as you are of age. By 17 you are pro, you get maybe 5 years on top before your body starts taking longer to heal.
                                                  You could start later in life and be pro in the past, not the case anymore so as you grow, you develop your body and mind to be a pro athlete. This is also the case with school and social skills, the younger you start the better. Those who do not have that advantage take longer to get to the same level in life if at all, could take someone 10 years of their adult life to reach a level that someone else did at 18 because they have great parents.

                                                  • Christopher Orick
                                                    Christopher Orick  2 weeks back

                                                    All these comments about steroids. Steroids have been around since the 50s. Just look at bodybuilding. They have gotten smarter with it. But if you think they haven't used it before now you're crazy.

                                                    • Leipz
                                                      Leipz  2 weeks back

                                                      see if in 1950 they had technology to get the exact time of a runner

                                                      • Aristotle
                                                        Aristotle  2 weeks back

                                                        You can debate the reasons, but the answer is yes. The average height of a person in 1920 was 5' 6".

                                                        • The Brisket
                                                          The Brisket  2 weeks back


                                                          • valerinxo
                                                            valerinxo  2 weeks back

                                                            Dont u think its just abt ratio

                                                            • Žilvinas Gudžinskas
                                                              Žilvinas Gudžinskas  2 weeks back

                                                              his faked enthusiastic voice and his long explanations of a simple thing, along with his robotic pausing is disturbing to hear. How can you have effort on intonation (trying sounding enthusiastic) and have such robotic pauses????????????

                                                              • Chris Broderick
                                                                Chris Broderick  2 weeks back

                                                                He needs to use metric measurements

                                                                • MrMischelito
                                                                  MrMischelito  2 weeks back

                                                                  could have told that story in 2 minutes...

                                                                  • Dannyboy66
                                                                    Dannyboy66  2 weeks back

                                                                    Oh I was scrolling and thought it said athiest not athletes

                                                                    • Aristotle
                                                                      Aristotle  2 weeks back

                                                                      I was scrolling and only saw this same joke 15 times.

                                                                    • Earth's Crust
                                                                      Earth's Crust  2 weeks back

                                                                      Hahaha God wouldn't let them get faster, stronger or better... They had it coming if you ask me.

                                                                  • Freedom Lover
                                                                    Freedom Lover  2 weeks back

                                                                    Ok, so an ape may not have a butt but how about boobs? Just asking.

                                                                    • kwame nkrumah
                                                                      kwame nkrumah  3 weeks back

                                                                      someone please explain the maths at 3:44

                                                                      • Ivan Kujundzic
                                                                        Ivan Kujundzic  3 weeks back

                                                                        Hey I remember sonething about swimmiing suit. They introduced some new suit and had great results so they retracted those suits. Can't remember what have they done with records.

                                                                        • Desmond Moon
                                                                          Desmond Moon  3 weeks back

                                                                          Wow, what an amazing video. I just think it is odd that this guy is talking in miles and feet, while TED is all about ideas worth to spread. And if you want to spread ideas with the world why wouldn't you use the metric system like the rest of the world. Or at least show both imperial and metric. Hope that in future videos TED forces their speakers to use the metric or both, but not just the imperial system.

                                                                          • Spooky Spaghetti
                                                                            Spooky Spaghetti  3 weeks back

                                                                            Harder, better, faster, stronger

                                                                            • Levi
                                                                              Levi  3 weeks back

                                                                              Everyone talking about how good a speaker he is, but I'm just amazed at that powerpoint.

                                                                              • maxentirunos
                                                                                maxentirunos  1 weeks back

                                                                                I am pretty sure he doesn't use powerpoint but something more akin with lucid chart

                                                                              • Khaison Duong
                                                                                Khaison Duong  2 weeks back

                                                                                @Kevin Bone Sosa it looks like Prezi Classic. Does anyone know if this can be done on Prezi Next?

                                                                              • Kevin Bone Sosa
                                                                                Kevin Bone Sosa  2 weeks back


                                                                              • Taha Bilal
                                                                                Taha Bilal  2 weeks back


                                                                            • blad3sing3r
                                                                              blad3sing3r  3 weeks back

                                                                              It's all "fine and dandy" as they say but unfortunately the "performance enhancing drugs" aspect has a huge role to play and it was barely mentioned and that was out of context. I don't disagree with the aspects presented here but drugs (and their improvement) are too big a factor to ignore.

                                                                              • VORTEX1756
                                                                                VORTEX1756  3 weeks back

                                                                                He concludes with athletes are getting faster, better, stronger, but his whole talk was about that it's basically just because of technology, selection of athletes and new sports? So basically we aren't getting stronger, faster or better, we just use better equipment

                                                                                • name
                                                                                  name  3 weeks back


                                                                                  • Raine Copeland
                                                                                    Raine Copeland  3 weeks back

                                                                                    Read the title as Athiests.. was very confused..

                                                                                    • Suron
                                                                                      Suron  3 weeks back

                                                                                      dude this guy killed himself in prison. rest in peace to this great thinker.

                                                                                    • Carlos Armando
                                                                                      Carlos Armando  3 weeks back

                                                                                      THIS DUDE IS PERFECT!!! WHAT A PRESENTATION! He was genuinely so funny!! Every second of this was informative! Thank you so so much!

                                                                                      • EpicBunty
                                                                                        EpicBunty  3 weeks back

                                                                                        Well then suck him off will ya

                                                                                    • Disa Cane
                                                                                      Disa Cane  3 weeks back

                                                                                      And powerlifter and strongmen got fatter and fatter