The year was 2014. Grant Holloway was a 16-year-old sophomore at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps were still competing. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” topped the charts. TikTok was just the sound a clock makes.

And Holloway had just lost an indoor hurdles race — maybe for the last time. A full decade later, Holloway is riding a 76-race win streak in indoor hurdles.

“I’m a sore loser,” Holloway says. “And I know it."

“But something clicked in that moment. I’m just continuing to elevate my game and know the main goal is just be better than last time. That's the main reason why that streak is so dominant and so long.”

In describing that losing day in 2014 —  now over 3,350 days ago — Holloway recounts Isaiah Moore “busting him upside the head” with a wide gap to victory.

Since then, Holloway’s epic win streak has included five world championships, eight NCAA titles and a 2020 Olympic silver medal in the 110m hurdles.

In 2021, Holloway set the 60m hurdles world record. This February, he smashed that record with a burning time of 7.27 seconds.

Each year, I've always raised my game. If I don’t, it’s a failure.

Holloway’s résumé is stacked, but a full decade — and counting — of indoor victories stands out as the gaudiest of his accolades. It’s a streak comparable in longevity to the domination of three-time Olympian Edwin Moses, who raced from 1977 to 1987 without a 400m-hurdles loss. Boxer Jimmy Wilde once won 103 fights before losing. Basketball fans are likely familiar with UConn women’s basketball’s 90-game, three-year run of victories and that of the UCLA men (88 games).

Holloway’s streak is firmly in that category. At age 26, he’s already considered one of the great hurdlers of the modern era.

But he’s not just a hurdler.

“I'm just an all-around freak,” Holloway says.

That’s been the case from Holloway’s early years. The all-around freak has competed in the long jump and high jump, the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, plus the 60m, 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m sprints.

An alternate universe even exists in which Holloway is an NFL star instead of a world-champion hurdler. At Grassfield, he was a four-star wide receiver who racked up 826 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. He then ran a scorching 40-yard dash in a time of 4.32 seconds at the Rivals Combine Series. 

Holloway could have climbed to the football mountaintop — for context, three-time NFL Pro Bowler A.J. Brown and first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry joined him among four-star wideouts in the Class of 2016. And he fielded plenty of high-level Division I offers, even committing to play football at SEC powerhouse Georgia.

But Holloway opted instead for the University of Florida and a career in track and field. At Florida, Holloway became the first man in the history of college track to win three consecutive indoor and outdoor high hurdles titles.

“That’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he says now.

Holloway’s historically excellent run at Florida catapulted him to his current status as the world’s best. He currently leads the World Athletics rankings for men’s hurdlers, just edging 2020 Olympic gold medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica and compatriot Daniel Roberts.

But remember, Holloway is an all-around freak. So why not do it all?

Holloway tweeted on May 7 that he “would like to be apart of the [4x100m relay team] in Paris.”

It should come as no shock that Holloway has a success streak in the 4x100m, too. It’s been five years since any relay team featuring Holloway has lost a race, dating back to the 2019 SEC Championships.

“Everybody knows that my Twitter is not a safe place,” Holloway says. “I’m not pointing fingers, but we're putting people on relays who haven't run 400 since high school. And the people want to see, you know, other things."

“So, let’s give the people what the people want.”

Holloway notes how rife the U.S. is with talent for the relay — notably, with sprint stars like Noah LylesChristian ColemanFred Kerley and Erriyon Knighton.

“So I tell everybody that my goal is to be the best fifth man in track and field history,” Holloway says. “Obviously, I don't run the 100. I don't run the 200. I don't run the 400. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be prepared for whatever moment comes my way."

“I run great relays every year. I just want to be able to showcase it. I’ll just wait for Team USA to give me that call, even if it's for a [preliminary round], just to prove myself.”

But joining the relay team would just be Holloway’s side hustle. He’s zoned in on the one gaping hole in his hurdles résumé: Olympic gold.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Jamaica’s Parchment scored an upset of Holloway, who entered as the favorite and defending world champion. In the 110m hurdles final, Parchment stormed ahead after the final hurdle to edge Holloway by just .05 of a second.

“It’s unbelievable that I caught (Holloway),” Parchment said after the race in Tokyo.

At the time, Holloway cited the “nerves” and “big atmosphere” getting the best of him.

“It's a sour taste in my mouth,” Holloway says now. “I was only 23. And I'm 26 now, so I’ve seen a lot of moons and a lot of sunshine since then.”

From the unfathomable streak of indoor perfection to his setback at the Tokyo Olympics, from his Twitter shenanigans to his upcoming pursuit of gold in Paris and his philanthropic work, Holloway is unapologetically himself.

In that event — authenticity — Holloway takes no losses.

“I've always been told to speak my mind, whether people like it or not,” Holloway says. “I've learned that I can't make everybody happy, but I can make a lot of people happy."

“With some people, you can either play the hero or the villain.”