Trained as a medical doctor, McKenzie taught at McGill University before being appointed chair of the department of physical education at the University of Pennsylvania in 1904. His interest in athleticism and anatomy led to his desire to represent the human figure. While based on scientific observation, the nude left-handed youth is idealized, a composite of studies of numerous athletes. This slender figure, delicately balanced on one foot, is depicted the moment after releasing a 16-pound iron ball. There is a Tait McKenzie museum at the Mill of Kintail, near Almonte, Ontario.