The Gods of Wall Street Battle for Pediatric Cancer Research
This past weekend over 85 of the most fit and athletic men and women working on Wall Street gathered together to compete in the fifth annual RBC Decathlon at Columbia’s Wien Stadium in the Bronx. The much anticipated event challenges strength, stealth, and stamina of the financial industry’s athletic elite, while raising money for pediatric cancer research. As a result of the sweat and spirit of the competitors, the sponsors, and generous donors, $1.25 million was donated last Sunday to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Participants ranged from college-aged to early sixties, and were spread out across many different financial services companies throughout New York and Boston. Investors and traders from the likes of Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Staley competed next to athletes from smaller firms such as Capital Dynamics and Trafalet & Co, battling through six hours of events which included sprints, pull-ups, dips, bench pressing, vertical jumping, rowing, an agility test, football throwing and a grueling 800 meter dash to finish out the day.
Joining the competition this year was Olympic gold-medalist Dan O’Brien, who was challenged to raise $100,000 by completing 16 pull-ups during the event. The crowd cheered as O’Brien surpassed his mark, the 47 year old athlete proving that age is linked to motivation.
Alongside O’Brien were some other top-notch athletes who came with NFL training experience including Jake Stoller of Barclays (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tom McCarthy of Morgan Staley (Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars), Collin Zych of Cogent Partners (Dallas Cowboys) and Mark Rubin of Barclays (St. Louis Rams) It was Rubin who walked away with the title of Best Male Athlete on Wall street, sharing the spotlight with Evelyn Konrad of Standard and Poor who was crowned the first ever Best Female Athlete award.
There was no short supply of talent, athleticism, and determination. What was most surprising was the strong sense of camaraderie that echoed across the field and mixed among the opponents. “What impressed me the most was the caliber of competitors here today,” said Max Osbon, 25, a partner at Boston based index-only investment boutique firm Osbon Capital, “Everyone here has trained hard to get here, and yet we’re all just out here having a good time together and hoping to raise some money.” This was Osbon’s second Decathlon, and this year he was joined by his father and colleague John Osbon, who trained alongside his son to prepare for the event.
The winners of each event were honored at the end by an awards ceremony that included distribution of trophies and a years worth of bragging rights. Each of the other competitors was given something even more valuable: motivation to start training for next year.
Also impressive were the spectators who trekked from across Manhattan and Brooklyn to fill the stadium with cheers of encouragement, growing only louder as the rain slicked the track right before the 800m run, the final event to seal the day. The fans were encouraged throughout the day to place charity bets on the performances of the athletes.
Kirsten Doody, a Texas native who showed her support by dancing in the stands with enthusiastic friends, commented on an alternative reason to attend the event. “It’s amazing to see all of these fit and buff people duke it out. I don’t understand why more single women aren’t here today, it’s the perfect place to shop for a boyfriend.”
There you have it, an event worth marking your calendar for in 2014. Consider joining the ranks of Wall Street elite who will working hard to improve their personal scores as well as their charitable contributions. If competing in the event does not sound appealing, perhaps consider attending anyway to support the athletes, make a donation, sit back, and enjoy the view.