Never. Give. Up.

Danny Stock

Ziyah Holman ’20 captivated the world with her explosive finish to her first-ever collegiate meet while anchoring the University of Michigan’s 4x400 meter relay team. The video that has since gone viral in the multi-million viewers range shows Ziyah’s blazing comeback as she brought the Wolverines from a four-second deficit to win the race by half a second. 

Ziyah was known at GDS for her big come-from-behind wins under pressure and her ability to dig deep for strong finishes even as the rest of the field began to fade. The accolades from sports legends and fans were a testament to the impact of the video well beyond the track and field world.

Billie Jean King wrote, “This is Ziyah Holman, a freshman @UMich. Her team was down by four seconds heading into the 4x400 relay anchor leg. And then this happened. This is why you never give up. #goforit.” Television writer/producer Shonda Rhimes responded, “🙌🏾 Inspiration for the day!!!"

ESPN’s SportsCenter featured the video with the caption “Reminder: Never. Give. Up.”

This week, Middle School P.E. teacher Donna Stallworth, with P.E. colleagues Marquis Bell, Katie Redmond, and Jodi Jackson, leveraged Ziyah’s inspiring race in a powerful lesson for students in GDS Virtual Campus. The asynchronous presentation introduced Ziyah as a recent GDS graduate with photos from her time at school and with running coach and LMS P.E. colleague William Miezan. Students watched the viral video and this interview Ziyah gave after the race. They were asked to respond in writing, using what they’d learned from the videos about perseverance, “no lead is safe,” mental toughness, goal setting, commitment, and decision making. The lesson closed with a no-equipment-needed workout during which students used their GDS-issued heart rate monitors and learned how to manually measure heart rate. 

The viral video from Ziyah’s 4x400 relay race was filmed just an hour after she broke the national record in the 600 meter race for the year, an all-time record for a first-year student at Michigan. Last weekend, Ziyah broke her own record by one second during the Indiana Gladstein Invite, the second collegiate meet of her career. She left her competitors so far behind that she ran unchallenged for much of the race—a situation from which it’s typically more difficult to deliver record-breaking performances. There is plenty to look forward to from Ziyah. 

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