Man vs. Cheetah: It's a Draw

posted on December 2, 2013
wilder_ah2015_fs.jpg (40)

undefinedOver the summer I blogged about how two NFL players—the Titans' Chris Johnson and Devin Hester of the Bears—would be racing a cheetah to kick off Nat Geo's "Big Cat Week." Well, that race came and went over the Thanksgiving holiday, and you might be a little surprised at the result: Hester defeated the world's fastest land animal. I'm not sure if I'd call it a win, though, given how things played out.

The gist, in case you hadn't heard about the race before now, was that Nat Geo wanted to pit a pair of world-class athletes against their big cats. Johnson was selected for his speed, Hester for his agility. Each man would engage in an individual race against an adult cheetah (a 10-foot wall would stand between the pair, in order to ensure that everyone remained safe). Footage from the race would be aired at the end of a special dedicated to exploring the cheetah species and all of its strengths and weaknesses.

Nat Geo took a few steps to level the playing field, though, something which that certainly played a part in Hester's victory. Rather than a Point A to Point B footrace, athletes and cheetahs alike had to stop and change direction on the course—which, as you might imagine, is a lot easier for a human being than a cheetah. Especially since the big cat has no idea it's in any sort of race, nor what a race is.

The course was set at 30-yards—Johnson went up and back once, Hester up and back twice. The cats' participation was encouraged by a lure, which they readily took off after, much like a greyhound might race after a fake rabbit. Johnson lost his race in the closing few yards, but the nimble Hester managed to eek out a close victory. The more turns his cheetah had to make, the more time it spent trying to regain its footing rather than running. So, while the race wasn't entirely fair, it made for some entertaining and educational TV. And, at the end of the day, it's no secret that neither of these guys would want to try to outrun a cheetah in the wild.

USA Today has GIF files that cut right to the race, which I encourage you to check out. Here's the official race preview from Nat Geo:

So, what's the verdict? Was Hester's win legitimate? Sound off in the comments section below.


Draper Shooting S20 Hunter
Draper Shooting S20 Hunter

#SundayGunday: Sako S20 Hunter

Get a closer look at the Sako S20 Hunter, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Local Legends: Why Butch and Harold Still Prowl the Big Woods

The experience of two Vermont hunters shows it’s never too late to find a new hunting partner.

Non-Toxic Shot Roundup

Contributor Mike Roux discusses the ins and outs of non-toxic shot with his audience.

First Look: Garmin GPSMAP 67 and eTrex SE Handheld GPS Units

Whether you want a high-tech hunting device that’s loaded with sophisticated features or simply need an easy-to-use GPS to avoid getting lost in the woods, Garmin’s new handhelds have you covered.

Henry Repeating Arms Donates $25,000 to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever

Henry Repeating Arms has announced a donation of $25,000 to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever as part of its $1 million silver anniversary pledge and the company’s commitment to safeguarding America’s outdoors and hunting traditions.

Hardware: CVA Cascade XT

The new XT (X-Treme) is CVA’s precision-oriented rifle in the company’s popular Cascade rifle series, and boasts several features that make it an ideal multipurpose hunting rifle. 


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.