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An hour later he was at Newport High School, where 150 high school athletes from Newport and surrounding towns had gathered. He spoke of the East Germans' Olympics successes and of how they had been achieved. He said that the German athletes train 364 days a year, which elicited groans—he didn't mention his own schedule—and added, "Each of you has a special kind of body, suited for one sport or another."
To illustrate this he asked for two volunteers, one from a skill sport and one from endurance sports. He got a girl and a boy, a gymnast and a distance runner, respectively. He had laid out an 18" square on the floor with adhesive tape, the basis of a motor-skills test used by the U.S. ski team; the object is to jump from each side to the center and back, and to complete three circuits of the square that way. Both volunteers would be timed, and their times would indicate the levels of their motor skills. They would then practice and try again, and their second times would indicate how quickly they would be likely to learn skill sports.
The boy, stumbling, required 16.11 seconds. The girl took 14. Both improved with their second tries, the boy to 15 seconds, the girl to 11.2 "See," Arnot said to her, "you may not have as large a heart and lungs as this fellow, and you might not do as well in running the mile, but you have superior motor skills, so it isn't surprising that you're a good gymnast."
At 10:45 that morning, the high school session ended, Arnot went roller-skating and returned two hours and 15 minutes—32 miles—later. In three days he would be in California, to compete in the third annual Long Beach Roller Skating Marathon as well as in two shorter races of 10 and 20 kilometers, all on the same day. He would be the first skater in the history of the races to compete in all three.
One member of the high school audience had been Clint Cooper, president of Newport Hospital, and as Arnot wheeled away, Cooper was saying, "Some people call Bob an egotist, but I think the right term is egoist; he just has a good feeling about himself and what he's doing, and he has an almost missionary zeal for fitness. I can't find fault with anything he does. He's a great doctor, he's in great shape, and he's got the world by the tail."
That afternoon Arnot attended Newport High School's track and field practice. A group of milers and hurdlers was about to run 15 330s, and Arnot jumped in. In his third 330—Arnot would run them all—he was second at the halfway point; a small miler tried to pass, but Arnot held his position. Someone said, "I think your competitive juices are flowing."
"Oh," Arnot said, "I haven't run sprints like this since I was in high school myself."
"But it obviously matters to you, to do your best."
"It always does," he said.
In the seventh 330 Arnot led until the second turn, but this time he faded to third, finishing in 54 seconds. He said, "You get your pH to 6.7, down from the normal 7.2, and the muscles just don't produce any more energy. You're dead."