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“All my life, man and boy, I've operated under the assumption that the main idea in running was to win the race. Naturally, when I became a coach I tried to teach people how to do that. Tried to teach Pre how to do that. Tried like hell to teach Pre to do that. And Pre taught me. Taught me I was wrong. Pre, you see, was troubled by knowing that a mediocre effort can win a race and a magnificent effort can lose one. Winning a race wouldn't necessarily demand that he give it everything he had from start to finish. He never ran any other way. I tried to get him to, God knows I tried... but... Pre was stubborn. He insisted on holding himself to a higher standard than victory. ‘A race is a work of art’; that's what he said, that's what he believed and he was out to make it one every step of the way.”

Donald Sutherland as Bill Bowerman in Without Limits, 1998

“One morning in May, on the front page of The New York Times, there was a photograph of a soldier firing his rifle at Taliban attackers from the ramparts of Fire Base Restrepo in Afghanastan. An Associated Press photographer had captured Specialist Zachary Boyd defending his Fire Base dressed in helmet, body armor, flip flops, and pink boxer shorts with little red hearts in which were printed, ‘I Love New York’. I burst out laughing. Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip flops has a special kind of courage, I said publicly. What an incredible innovation in psychological warfare. I loved that picture so much that an enlargement hung on the wall outside my office for two years.”

former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

“It was one of the most memorable meetings during my tenure as Secretary [of Defense]. It was also the only encounter with a foreign leader in which I lost my cool . . . He [King Abdullah] went on and on about how the United States was seen as weak by governments in the region. The longer he talked, the angrier I got . . . I told him that what he considered ‘America's great weakness’, showing restraint, was actually great strength. Because we could crush any adversary. I told him that neither he nor anyone else should ever underestimate the strength and power of the United States. Those who had — Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union — were all now in the ashcan of history.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War