Cheat to Win

Russian gymnast Olga Korbut and American swimmer Gary Hall Jr. offer tips for crushing your coworkers


What should you eat to properly fuel up before office Olympics?

Gary Hall Jr.: A diet made up of anything you find in the vending machine or kitchen area will suffice. Be careful about the use of performance-enhancing substances; high-octane energy drinks are almost as prevalent in the office as doping is in a sport like cycling.

Crumpled-paper basketball is an after-Olympics staple. What’s your secret to success?

Olga Korbut: The secret is to put a chewed piece of gum inside [the crumpled paper] so it will be a little heavier. But don’t tell your competition.

Should you foster a rivalry with someone in your office?

Hall: Rivalries are a slippery slope. They do push your performance, but there’s always the chance that they’ll result in a visit from HR. Try to avoid the baton-to-the-knee approach to competition.

What makes a good game of office-chair soccer?

Korbut: Don’t play on carpet. Make sure the game takes place on a tile floor. What you want to do is hide one of those little butter packets from a restaurant in your hand. When the time is right, squeeze it behind your competitor’s chair so they slide around on the floor — and then you can score!

From your experience, how much should the average working professional train for his or her office games?

Hall: Well, I trained eight hours a day, six days a week for 20 years to get to the Olympic level. So for events like these I’d say ... yeah, probably no training at all is necessary.


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