Over the last 100 years the average human has changed in body size and shape, a change generally attributed to improvements in health and nutrition. The same goes for competitors in sports, the body size and shape of the current crop of elite athletes is very different from their counterparts from years past, and the changes are expected to be greater than what is seen in the general population.
Athlete body size and shape is becoming more specific to the sports. As well as the population advances in health and nutrition knowledge, there have been great advances in athlete training methods and sports nutrition knowledge, as well as more time allocated to training.
Sport is no longer a leisure activity of the elite class, there are more opportunities and rewards for anyone who participates, resulting in a greater pool of athletes. Athlete pathways and talent identification results in sports people being better suited to their sport, both in ability and body size. Consequently, the modern athlete is very different from times past.
We have used athlete data from champions throughout the last 100 tears to study the body size and composition of athletes from around the world and how that relates to performance. Here are details of some of our analysis of athletes.
Athlete Changes Over Time
- 100m Olympic champions — generally, the winning sprinters have become taller and heavier.
- Marathon Winners at the Olympics — body size varied quite remarkedly, particularly before the advent of the Africans into the sport.
- Swimming 100m freestyle Olympic champions — generally, the winning swimmers have become taller and heavier.
- All-round Olympic Games gymnastics winners — the winning gymnasts have become shorter, lighter and with a lower BMI, with the changes more pronounced in the female gymnasts
- Olympic Games Cross-Country Skiers — there is a trend for increasing height and weight over time, with BMI fairly consistent.
- Wimbledon Winners — there is a clear trend of the champion tennis players getting taller.
- Tour de France Winners — how has the height and weight of the winners changed over time?
- FIFA World Cup players — comparing 2002, 2006 and 2018.
- Olympic Football Players — comparing Olympiads
- NBA Players — how has the height and weight of NBA players changed over time?
- AFL Players — how has the height and weight of Australian Rules Football players changed in the last decade.
- About Anthropometric Testing of Athletes
- Anthropometry at the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games
- A discussion about Body Size Testing
- Anthropometric Charts
- About Anthropometry for Sports
- A discussion about Body Composition Testing
- Poll about methods for measuring body composition?
- Methods for measuring muscle mass
- Records for the extremes of height and weight.
- Body Composition and Fitness.