Jeremy Dodson didn’t always have aspirations for the Olympic stage in track and field.
As a high-school quarterback, Jeremy didn’t realize the potential inside of him as an elite sprinter.
"Out of all my friends I was never the most talented. However, I never realized what I lacked because we all had our roles based on each strength. We would go out and play against other kids in the neighborhood, and as a team we were unstoppable. I knew there were positions I was better at, and I realized there were positions my brothers were great at, and it always worked out in the end."
Dodson will be representing Samoa in the world’s biggest sporting event, running in his first Olympics in August. Despite his athletic success, the 200 meter runner doesn’t think he was gifted with an innate advantage.
"I grew up with kids who were more gifted than average, so I was always taught that hard work will even out any playing field. I never felt at a disadvantage when I knew I worked hard."
Powerful muscles, enduring lungs
Jeremy carries genetic gifts in several areas of athletics that are optimal for his chosen event of the 200 meter sprint. He has the power version of the sprint gene (ACTN3), in addition to a metabolic conditioning profile that helps him mobilize enough anaerobic energy needed to power through the short burst of a 20 second race.
Jeremy’s variant of the ACTN3 gene has been associated with Olympic sprinters and elite power performance. At the muscular level, the ACTN3 protein product is only found in fast-twitch muscle fibres, and is associated with muscle fiber composition and strength.
The genetics of his metabolic conditioning traits also lend themselves to success in his races. Jeremy has a high trainability of his lactate threshold, meaning he may adapt faster to intense training compared to others, and hit the wall later during training. Jeremy’s ADRB2 gene variant represents an intermediate between power and endurance, which also helps him at both ends of the spectrum.
Together, Jeremy’s strengths in muscular power performance, anaerobic trainability, and endurance capacity gives him a boost out of the blocks and the endurance to go all out during the 200 meters of his race.
A snapshot of Jeremy’s Athletigen profile.
An Innate Warrior
Jeremy’s profile revealed that he is a carrier of the warrior trait in Athletigen’s sport psychology section.
This trait is associated with an optimal state of alertness and cognitive function under stressful situations. His variant in the COMT gene is related to optimal dopamine levels under stress, an important neurotransmitter for decision-making. Jeremy reflected on his results and found it confirmed what he’s seen from himself in the past:
“When the time was taken to examine myself, it was then I found out I was a person who would perform better when more pressure is placed on me. Before that moment, I never took the time to reflect, but the time taken for reflection helped me to better understand myself. I am finding that the better I know myself, the better I can effectively plan for success.”
Jeremy told us that understanding his mental traits is a huge part of his success.
“Seeing my Athletigen profile opened my eyes and stopped the guessing as to what I need and what I did not need, such as nutrition, workouts, etc.”
“My pre race mental tactics is about getting into a relaxed state. Over thinking on race day can cause a lot of fatigue and distraction, which is pretty ironic. I watch movies, read books, watch Ted Talks: all to keep my brain active but relaxed. Race day is all about the show: knowing the work has already been done makes the race more entertaining and fun for myself and for the crowd.”
Despite Jeremy’s numerous genetic strengths, his success today is a result of the countless hours of hard work and sacrifice he has endured during his athletic career. Genetics do not paint a complete picture of an athlete. An optimal environment with world-class coaching, therapy, and nutrition such as what’s offered at ALTIS is crucial for success, and is an optimal complement to the genetic gifts he carries.
What genetics do offer is insight into your body that can help you nurture your nature better than anyone else, much like Coach Stuart McMillan has done for Jeremy at ALTIS. Removing the guesswork from training and nutrition plans can help athletes adapt more efficiently to a program.
When asked about his Athletigen profile, Jeremy told us:
“It’s a good foundation. This is me, and this is the base - and now what can I do with this base?”
We're honored to supply Jeremy with this foundation for his quest to the podium this August in Rio de Janeiro.