Thomas was in the cafeteria bragging about his "slam dunking prowness". In paragraph 1 it states that Carlos Mattis, "had enough of Thomas' lip and bet him that he could not clear 6,6" in a high jump competition." Thomas is a basketball player and has never done a high jump competition in his life until now. While, Carlos has been working his whole life at high jumping.
Thomas accepted the challenge and went home to grab some sneakers. They met at Lindenwood field where Mattis set up the 6,6" bar. In paragraph 2 it states. "To Mattis' amazement, Thomas cleared it easily." Mattis moved the bar up 2 more inches and Thomas cleared that easily as well. Mattis was in shock about Thomas' natural high jumping ability, and went to the track coach to try and get Thomas on the track team.
Thomas began to compete in championship after championship. He cleared 7'0.25" and now holds the new Lindenwood university record. In paragraph 5 it states, "he placed 4th in a world-class field". He traveled to the Bahamas and Osaka for the world championships. Everyone was confused about Thomas' natural talent, and says if he had any semblance of the back arch he would have shattered world records.
Natural talent can only take you so far.
Scientists studied him and realized that his natural talent was because of his large Achilles tendons. Paragraph 3 states, "he was gifted with a giants Achilles tendon". Thomas's Achilles tendon was 10 and a quarter inches. "A longer Achilles tendon allows an athlete to get more power from what's called the "stretch shortening cycle"." Which is a compression and subsequent decompression of the spring-like tendon.
Thomas relied on his natural talent but it only got him so far. He never put the work in that he needed to, so he never got any better. Paragraph 17 states, "Thomas has not improved one centimeter in the 6 years since he entered the professional circuit". "Thomas debuted on top and never progressed". He contradicted the deliberate practice framework in all directions.
The theme/central idea is that innate talent can only take you so far in life. The genes that you are born with can help you a lot with sports, but if you don't put the extra work in you will not get any better. You can have more natural talent than the next person but if they work harder than you, their talent will eventually pass yours up.