By Josh Staph
Herschel Walker is considered one of the most versatile athletes of all time. Although best known as one of the NFL’s most gifted runners, Herschel also reached world-class levels in track & field and competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics with the U.S. bobsled team. But well before Hershel developed into one of the world’s best athletes, he struggled to be tops in his own family.
During dinners at the Walker house in Wrightsville, Ga., the children would argue about who was the fastest runner in the family. Not surprisingly, the discussion would spill onto the street in front of their house, at which point Herschel’s older sister Veronica would handily smoke him in a race. Being a little chubby, Herschel vowed to get in shape so he could beat his sister. He began doing push-ups and sit-ups during television commercials and performed countless sprints at night. Herschel’s body responded immediately; and by the time he was a teen, he was beating Veronica, who accepted a track scholarship to Georgia a few years later.
Continuing his regimen, Herschel worked up to, at one point, 2,000 push-ups, 3,000 sit-ups, 1,500 pull-ups and 1,000 dips in a day. By his junior year in high school, he was running a 9.9 100-yard dash. And as a student-athlete at Georgia, Herschel went on to carry the ball 994 times, gaining 5,259 yards. In 1981, after a game against Florida in which he carried the ball 47 times, Herschel was asked if that performance made him tired. His response: “No, the ball isn’t heavy.”