onsdag 27 augusti 2008

Competitive swimming – only giants need apply

henry flixing his mussels
Originally uploaded by lomokev

I was looking at the vital statistics of the Olympic swimming gold medalists. The only one under 6 feet tall was the Japanese breast-stroker, at 5ft 10in. Anyone less than 6ft 4in tall might as well forget about competitive swimming, freestyle. It is a natural consequence of the laws of hydrodynamics.

This effect begins with swimmers at school age, favouring the big ones at the expense of the little ‘uns and late developers. No amount of training will make anyone taller. Leaving aside the most important question, whether competitive sport is a desirable and worthwhile activity at all, do those responsible for regulating the sport really want it to exclude everyone apart from those with the right gene?

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