As Olympic athletes prepare to race in Greece, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer turns its focus to speed — why we crave it and how we attain it. Exploring our obsession with speed, Ultimate Explorer correspondent Michael Davie experiences a frenetic world where athletes are extreme, cars are super-charged and speed-dating has left old-fashioned courtship in the dust.
Davie plunges into the story with Olympic swimmer Ian Crocker, learning firsthand how competitors pull out all the stops of physical and mental preparation to be crowned “fastest.” But the craving for haste comes in many forms, enthralling Midwestern roller coaster fanatics and Manhattan’s speed-dating singles alike.
Ultimate Explorer investigates possible links between evolutionary history and the need for speed, trying to unveil what drives the modern-day hustle. We are no longer running from predators, but does our drive to go faster still stem from a time when the swift were more likely to survive? Tearing around a speedway in a super-charged race car, Davie is the guinea pig in an analysis of the body’s speed response — a pulse-pounding release of natural chemicals that keeps us coming back for more. But in the face of a fast-paced world and increasing stress, some experts say it’s time to slow down.
Ultimate Explorer looks behind the thrill factor to reveal the science of swiftness and the sometimes dangerous allure of “Extreme Speed.”