Anthropometry of Olympic Athletes 2012

In 2012 the IOC released a database of height, weight, birth date, sport and country containing data from most of the London Olympic Games participants. I have analyzed the anthropometric data of the 10,384 participants using data for height, weight, birth date, sport and country. Here are some of my summary and analysis of the data.

Height

The tallest male athlete stood at 2.21m, the Chinese basketball player Zhaoxu Zhang. The shortest was a 21-year-old Tuvaluan weight lifter standing only 1.40m tall, Lapua Lapua.

    Average Minimum Maximum n
Males cm 182.4 140 221 5396
ft, inches 6' 0" 4' 7" 7' 3" 5396
Females cm 170.2 132 207 4427
ft, inches 5' 7" 4' 4" 6' 9" 4427
All cm 176.9 132 221 9823
ft, inches 5' 10" 4' 4" 7' 3" 9823

Weight

The heaviest male athlete was Ricardo Blas Jr, a Judo competitor from Guam. The lightest was China's Yuan Cao who won a gold in the Men's Synchronized 10m Diving.

    Average Minimum Maximum n
Males kg 80.6 42 218 5055
lbs 177.6 93 481 5055
Females kg 63.2 36 154 4049
lbs 139.3 79 340 4049
All kg 72.8 36 218 9104
lbs 161 79 481 9104

BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a commonly used measure of fatness, calculated by dividing body mass (in kg) by the height (in meters) squared.

  Average Minimum Maximum n
Males 24.0 16.4 63.7 5017
Females 21.6 15.2 51.5 4021
All 22.9 15.2 63.7 9038

Age (Years)

Rhythmic gymnasts had an average age of 19 – while for the equestrian events the average age of the participants was 38 years.

  Average Minimum Maximum n
Males 27.0 15.0 71.3 5756
Females 25.9 13.5 57.7 4628
All 26.5 13.5 71.3 10,384

Breakdown per Sport

Here are the averages for each sport. Weight data was not supplied for the sports of boxing, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, taekwondo and trampoline. The results below are for both male and female athletes for each sport combined - for more detailed results and analysis of the anthropometric scores for each sport, follow the links.

The sport with the oldest competitors was Equestrian with an average age of 37.9 years, and the youngest was rhymic gymnastics at 19.5 years. Basketball was the sport with the greatest average height, the next was volleyball.

Sport Age Height (cm) Weight (kg) BMI
OVERALL AVERAGE (all sports) 26.1 176.9 72.8 23.3
Archery 26.1 173.7 71.9 23.8
Athletics 26.2 176.0 69.2 22.3
Badminton 26.2 173.6 66.8 22.1
Basketball 27.2 192.1 87.0 23.6
Beach Volleyball 29.2 187.0 80.0 22.9
Boxing 24.0 175.0 - -
Canoe Slalom 26.8 175.3 70.2 22.9
Canoe Sprint 26.2 179.4 78.2 24.3
Cycling - BMX 23.5 176.1 77.6 25.0
Cycling - Mountain Bike 27.9 173.6 62.4 20.7
Cycling - Road 28.3 176.7 66.8 21.4
Cycling - Track 25.2 175.7 72.3 23.4
Diving 22.9 165.5 59.8 21.9
Equestrian 37.9 174.4 67.2 22.1
Fencing 26.3 176.7 69.6 22.3
Football 23.3 174.1 68.7 22.7
Gymnastics - Artistic 22.1 161.1 - -
Gymnastics - Rhythmic 19.5 170.1 - -
Handball 28.0 183.8 82.5 24.4
Hockey 26.0 173.2 69.0 23.0
Judo 25.9 173.5 76.7 25.5
Modern Pentathlon 25.4 175.4 65.9 21.4
Rowing 27.2 185.6 80.9 23.5
Sailing 28.3 177.9 74.2 23.4
Shooting 31.4 172.1 72.9 24.6
Swimming 22.4 179.5 71.6 22.2
Synchronized Swimming 22.8 168.6 - -
Table Tennis 27.6 172.1 66.2 22.3
Taekwondo 24.1 176.3 - -
Tennis 27.1 180.1 72.9 22.5
Trampoline 25.6 166.3 - -
Triathlon 27.9 174.0 61.2 20.2
Volleyball 26.6 189.7 79.9 22.2
Water Polo 26.8 185.6 85.4 24.8
Weight lifting 24.6 166.6 77.5 27.9
Wrestling 26.0 172.5 74.6 25.1

The Database

There were 10,384 names, from 205 countries and representing 38 sports or events. Here is the original database. The data supplied was name, country, sport, event, sex, height, weight, age, birth date, and birth place. I also calculated BMI. Not all data was complete. The sports of boxing, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, taekwondo and trampoline did not supply any body weight data, and there were also some height measurements missing. There were 9823 data points for height, 9104 for weight, and we were able to calculate BMI for 9038 competitors. There were a few obvious errors that were fixed - a few athletes had body weight listed in lbs instead of kgs - a 150kg 100m sprinter? There is undoubtedly many more errors or inaccuracies, but that was the information supplied.

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