Foster soon began his career at Sinai Samaritan Medical Center in Milwaukee, where his boss, Michael Pollock, encouraged him to apply his knowledge to speed skating.
“I never skated on ice until I was 30-something, and I had no intrinsic feel for the sport,” he recalls. “I knew that, if I started asking questions, they’d inevitably be pretty dumb questions.”
Absorbing everything he could, Foster grew increasingly familiar with the ins and outs of speed skating. He spent a lot of time at the oval in Milwaukee, where many top speed skaters trained, talking with their coaches.
As it turned out, he was actually ahead of the curve — back then, the world of speed skating was relatively unexplored by scientists and researchers.
“There was almost no literature on the physiology of speed skating,” Foster says. “It was a really important sport in the Netherlands and Norway, and a minor sport everywhere else. In the United States, between the Olympics, it didn’t really exist in the mind of the public.”
Sharing his insight with Team USA, Foster left a small mark on the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, where American speed skaters won five gold medals and eight medals overall — both more than any other country.
In the years that followed, Foster became a fixture of U.S. Speed Skating, using cutting-edge science to help the country’s top skaters perfect their craft.