Ronnie White, the man who won the US Memory Championship for the second year in a row on Saturday, isn’t your average memory champion. Sure he can memorize a 167-digit number in five minutes, and the order of a deck of cards in under two, but lots of guys can do that. Two things make White unique, according to a profile in Details. First, in a sport full of bizarre geniuses, White is deceptively normal, a 36-year-old stocky Texan who flunked out of college.
But second is his training regimen. When White decided to win the US championship last year, he didn’t just train his memory. He hired a Navy SEAL to whip him into shape, changing his diet and sleeping habits, teaching him to perform under pressure. He studied while asking the neighbors’ kids to climb on him, and even practiced underwater. He won the US title, but then let his training lapse and did poorly in the World competition. Now, he’ll have another chance.