View Full Version : Olympic Bodies: Body types and their advantage in certain sports....

God Child
08-09-2012, 10:42 PM
Nice article (w/ audio) by NPR discussing the advantages in specific body types and how we've seen Olympic physiques change over the history of the games. The inforgraphics/images are visible on the main site.


The Olympic Games seem to celebrate the extremes of athletic physique — from tiny gymnasts to impossibly huge shot-putters. But why are they shaped that way?

Men's 100-Meter Sprint

For decades, sprinters have been getting taller, propelled upward by a simple law of physics. Sprinting is basically a controlled forward fall. Runners with higher centers of gravity can fall forward faster — and the taller you are, the higher your center of gravity.

Athletes of West African descent have a center of gravity that is 3 percent higher than Europeans, and they tend to dominate sprinting events.
Women's Single Scull

Rowing favors tall athletes who can take long, powerful strokes for efficient sculling.

Men's 100-Meter Freestyle

The ideal swimmer's physique: short, powerful legs, a huge wingspan, large hands and feet and a long, tapered torso. Asians have the longest torsos relative to their body size, but they tend to be shorter, so swimming has long been dominated by Europeans.

Men's Gymnastics

If you are going to be twisting and turning rapidly through the air, it helps if there is less of you to turn. That's one reason gymnasts are so small. They have some of the lowest body fat percentages in sports, and the body mass index of gold medalists has been declining for the past 50 years.

Men's Weightlifting

Weightlifters come in all sizes, but they tend to have one thing in common: short legs and short arms. Because of their shorter limbs, they don't have to lift their barbells quite so high, so they expend less energy.

Bantamweight champions can lift three times their body weight — heavyweights, less than two.






08-10-2012, 01:40 AM
excellent post, lots of really cool info...thx!Mike

08-10-2012, 02:42 AM
A nice review of Usain Bolt vs. 116 years of Olympic sprinters video summary


05-30-2018, 06:05 PM
The guy Baba Afzal in the picture is a Paksitani Body Builder! :)