Duke University: Why winning athletes are getting bigger
Not only have Olympic swimmers and sprinters gotten bigger and faster over the past 100 years, but they have grown at a much faster rate than the normal population.
Specifically, while the average human has gained about 1.9 inches in height since 1900, the fastest swimmers have grown 4.5 inches and the swiftest runners have grown 6.4 inches.
Futhermore, the researchers said, this pattern of growth can be predicted by the constructal theory, a Duke-inspired theory of design in nature that explains such diverse phenomena as river basin formation and the capillary structure of tree branches and roots. (www.constructal.org).
[Says one researcher],“In the future, the fastest athletes can be predicted to be heavier and taller. If the winners’ podium is to include athletes of all sizes, then speed competitions might have to be divided into weight categories. Larger athletes lift, push and punch harder than smaller athletes, and this led to the establishment of weight classes in certain sports, like boxing, wrestling or weight-lifting.”