Athleticism is all in the lineage?

11:46 PM

Chris Dutton, a sports writer from The Canberra Times, has written a piece published on the Sydney Morning Herald website this morning which is entitled "Medals await those with the mettle in their genes". The article was a great read and although I am still unsure whether genes are one hundred percent a factor in the success of some athletes but I guess it really does influence it. As the article states, ''There's always someone who will defy the general mould,'' Saunders says. ''There are some basic measures which can give you an indication of someone's future. 'But I think athletes can be groomed to a certain event as well.'' The full article can be seen here but a taste of the article is below:
One is a 49 kilogram pocket rocket gymnast and the other is a weightlifter three times her size, but both possess the key to Olympic Games success - genetic predisposition.
Lauren Mitchell and Damon Kelly have almost nothing in common and their sports require completely different skills. But an Australian Institute of Sport senior physiologist, Philo Saunders, says their respective genes are crucial to becoming world-class athletes.
So, what makes an athlete perfect for their sport? It is a combination of oxygen capacity, muscle make-up and the hunger for success.
For world champion Mitchell, it is her speed, flexibility and aerial awareness. For weightlifter Kelly, it is his ''big quads and big arse''.
''Sometimes you get someone who breaks the mould. But if you're genetically not disposed to a certain sport, you're just not going to be good at it,'' Saunders says.''Some people are just faster because they've got that fast-twitch muscle fibre make-up. You can change it to a certain degree, but there's a limit you reach while others just push through it naturally.''
The breakdown is pretty simple.
And the article continues on, specifically with a section pertaining to Gymnastics.
Pole vaulters are tall, muscular, possess explosive speed and have a big vertical jump. Gymnasts are the same but shorter with superior flexibility.
and:
When Saunders gets athletes in the AIS laboratory and tests anthropometry, body composition, height, weight, muscle mass and maximal oxygen capacity, he discovers their full potential.Lauren Mitchell is the perfect size for gymnastics - 158 centimetres tall and weighs 49 kilograms - and is flexible.The average age of the Australian gymnastics squad is 21 and the average weight is 49kg, making them some of the smallest in London.''Gymnastics has really evolved over the last three Olympiads; it's no longer the little, mini, pixie 14-year-olds,'' Australian head coach Peggy Liddick says.''You need the vaulters who are the short, fireplug, pocket rockets.''The shorter they are, the faster they twist and turn … and pound for pound, they're probably as strong as a 100 kilogram weightlifter and can perhaps even lift more.''I want guts. I want the kid climbing the curtains and up the poles. gymnastics is about being courageous.''Lauren Mitchell fits all the body types, but she's not that co-ordinated. She's like a bulldog, she just won't quit or let go.''

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